Putnam community members rally in prayer for 16-year-old struck by lightning, in critical condition

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — Community members in Putnam County rallied in prayer for a 16-year-old who was struck by lightning. Baylee Holbrook is in critical condition, fighting for her life in the hospital.


Loved ones say they’re praying for a miracle as hundreds filled the Palatka Junior-Senior High School gym, sending messages of love and hope after the 16-year-old was struck by lightning when she was hunting with her dad.

“She cares so much about everyone else. She has a heart for her friends, people she loves, people she comes in contact with she has a heart for people in general,” Willie McKinnon said.

Holbrook and her dad were hit after lightning struck a tree. Deputies say her dad lost consciousness and when he woke up, she wasn’t breathing and was in critical condition.

Willie McKinnon is the family spokesperson, friend, and pastor.

“We are really praying for a miracle in this situation,” he said.

The rain didn’t keep students, parents, and community members from coming together.

“It hit me when we were up in there and everybody was emotional,” friend Cartayveon Valentine said.

“I’ve grown up with the family and watched her grow up, it’s tough to see her down,” Makenzie Hutchinson said.

Holbrook is a varsity cheerleader, her teammates said she can light up a room with her smile and the turnout shows the impact she has on the community.

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“She’s hilarious, she always comes on with a smile on her face she could be battling the worst day, but she comes with a smile on her face,” Kaitlyn Sanders said.

She loves to hunt, fish, and be outdoors, something her cousin says is a bond they share.

“It’s like a brother-sister relationship, we hunt fish all sorts of things like that,” he said. “She’s a fighter and I know she will stay in this and I love you Baylee.”

Her middle name is Faith, something loved ones say she built her life around. McKinnon shared a message from her parents.

“Please ask God to do what he can only do and that’s perform a miracle,” he said on their behalf.

Cheer members said her favorite color is green and they plan on wearing green ribbons and bows for their game on Friday.

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