During a tragic incident on March 15, Eric Bennett was critically injured at Legends Tavern. Though the events of that night are unclear and still under investigation by police, Eric, with the support of his family and friends, is taking steps, one day at a time, toward recovery.
Following the incident, Eric was transported to Columbus Medical Center where he underwent brain surgery.
According to his sister, Lara Bennett, Eric had a skull fracture that caused bleeding into his brain and swelling.
Lara said Eric is physically getting stronger, but faces mental challenges ahead.
Doctors have been amazed by Eric’s physical strength and endurance after a “horrendous incident,” Lara Bennett said. Eric is now walking and talking.
Lara said Eric is currently at Shepherd Center where he is receiving extensive physical therapy.
“He is taking baby steps and has a long way to go,” she said.
Eric has a daughter, Erica, who will turn six in April. Lara said he was able to see her for the first time this week, which she said lit up his face.
Friends of Eric are stepping up to help him in his time of need, hoping to lift the financial burden of his injuries.
Brian Jones and Anthony Pruitt have both set up fundraisers to support Eric.
Jones set up a campaign on gofundme.com where anyone can donate money to Eric. Jones started the site March 18 and set the goal at $10,000. So far, $4,145 has been raised by 75 people in 13 days. Donors have left messages on the site sending Eric prayers and support.
Jones, who has known Eric for 10-15 years, said three years ago when Eric suffered a heart attack, he raised money to help pay for his medical bills. Jones said a lot of money and support came from that fundraiser and hopes they can raise all the funds this time around through Go Fund Me.
Those wishing to donate can use their mobile phones, personal computers or tablets and donate any dollar amount through their credit card.
Pruitt met Eric 30 years ago when he was 18 and the two have been close friends since. When he first heard the news of Eric, Pruitt said he was “sadder than I have ever been.” He added that his sadness turned into anger that someone could hurt Eric.
“I didn’t understand the severity of it until I went to Columbus Regional to see him and it broke my heart to no end,” he said.
Adam Griffith of the Newnan Police Department presented Pruitt with the idea of a golf tournament after hearing about Eric.
A four-man scramble will be held Friday June 20, at Orchard Hills Golf Club in Newnan. Registration starts at 8 a.m. The cost for the event is $75 per person or $300 per team. Hole sponsorships and banner sales will also be available. Those interested can preregister by emailing Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pruitt and Griffith aim to raise a minimum of $8,000 through the tournament. Every dime raised from the event will go towards Eric.
Between the golf tournament, Go Fund Me, and several Facebook pages, the community is rallying behind Eric.
“I think the community has been shaken up because they know that he has this big heart and he would do the same for anyone else,” Pruitt said.
Lara said the love and support for Eric has been endless.
“It’s really overwhelming to see how much people love and care for Eric,” she said. “Its touched my family more than anyone realizes.”