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Pembroke teen struck by lightning
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The Pembroke teen struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon remains in critical condition at Memorial Health University Medical Center pediatric intensive care unit in Savannah.

Dalton Raulerson, 14, of Pembroke was struck by lightning during football practice at Pinewood Christian Academy in Bellville.

Coaches and bystanders reportedly started CPR immediately and used a defibrillator until paramedics arrived. Raulerson was taken to Evans County Memorial Hospital in Claxton, and then driven by ambulance to Memorial.

With clear skies overhead, witnesses reported hearing a loud boom and seeing a cloud of dust outside PCA. When the lightning struck, several football players scrambled for cover from the practice field. Raulerson was knocked to the ground.

According to Pinewood Christian Academy Headmaster Jon Dorminey, the PCA coaches had a lightning detector approximately 30 steps away from where Raulerson was on the field. The detector showed lightning 60 miles away and nothing was popping up on their radar.

Dorminey also said that PCA has three cardiac defibrillator machines, and one portable. A dozen of the PCA faculty are trained to use them. But Dorminey credited a higher power as well as quick action for saving the boy’s life.

"We’re just thankful the Lord put his hands on him and gave him strength," said Dorminey.

A steady flow of friends, family, coaches, community members and classmates of Raulerson have been by his side since Wednesday. More than 80 people crowded the hospital’s emergency room on Wednesday night. The exact extent of Raulerson’s injuries are still unclear and doctors have placed him in a medical induced coma to give his body time to heal.

"The family is just overwhelmed with support from our community and the surrounding area," said Pembroke Mayor and family friend Judy Cook. "It is just terrible when something like this happens. Dalton is such a great kid and well liked by everyone. It truly shows the benefit of living in Pembroke. We all pull together to help each other. Pray chains are in action, the private schools in Savannah are offering support and food for the family. Everyone is just stepping up to help out and give prayers."

As of Friday, family members report that Raulerson has received significant burns to the left side of his body, is currently running a temperature of more than 103 degrees and has aspiration pneumonia. There is bleeding from his ear that doctors believe is from the lightning strike. He is on a respirator to assist his breathing but his heart is beating on its own. Raulerson has reportedly responded to his father’s voice, but is still heavily sedated.

The lightning apparently struck him in the chest which caused a small tear in one of his lungs before exiting through his foot. The strike also tore a large hole in the academy’s track that surrounds the football field.

"We are all praying for a full recovery and God is good and he is in control so please keep sending those prayers up," said family member Christy Kangeter. "Dalton is strong and a fighter."

Pinewood Christian Academy students began their first day of classes Friday. According to Dorminey, Raulerson was on everyone’s mind.

"The first day went as well as could be expected," said Dorminey. "Like every year we started the day off with prayer. Along with a great school year, I know Dalton was the focus of the prayer for everyone. The way the PCA family pulled together exceeded my expectations, along with the outreach of support we have received from Christians across the state. The prayers and offers of support for Dalton and our school are just awesome!"

According to Dorminey, the Patriot football team has not resumed their practice but did have a team meeting today with Coach Keith Wasson.

Dalton is the son of Lawrence and Tonya Raulerson of Pembroke. He is the youngest of six siblings.

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