Parler Share
Lifestyle & Human Interest

Father and 3-Year-Old Son Miraculously Survive After Tree Crushes Them in Storm

Parler Share

When Jeff Colvin, Jeff’s brother Andrew and Jeff’s 3-year-old son Judge went for a hike in early May, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Jeff’s wife Shelly remembered those last few moments as they said their goodbyes, not knowing that a disaster was about to strike.

Later the same day, Shelly posted a desperate plea for prayers online after discovering her son and husband had suffered an accident.

“Sweet friends, please send your prayers and healing energy to Jeff & Judge who were in a hiking accident today,” she shared on May 3. “A tree fell on them while they were escaping the storm. Judge is in icu & jeff is severely injured. I believe in the power of prayer and appreciate all that you can send us.”

According to the GoFundMe, both father and son suffered extensive injuries, thanks to the 75-foot red oak that crashed down on them while they were hiking.

“Three year old Judge suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for two weeks, all the while being closely and carefully monitored by the heroes at Monroe Carroll, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt,” the GoFundMe read.

Twitter's Largest Advertiser Returns to Platform, Has Now 'Fully Resumed' Spending

“Jeff shattered 19 ribs, both of his scapulas, punctured a lung, and grotesquely broke his back (sorry, but that’s how it was described to us), requiring spinal surgery to both fuse his broken vertebrae and to insert a steel rod. It’s nothing short of a miracle that both survived their injuries, and in Jeff’s case, is able to use his legs.”

“Because of the global pandemic, cruelly, neither Jeff nor Judge have been allowed visitors during their hospital stays. I’ve been living with Judge and, mercifully, both hospitals have made a couple of exceptions along the way, so that Jeff could see Judge and I for a short time … but our family having to be apart over the last six weeks with no other visitors has been very tough for us to endure emotionally.”

“Update: Jeff’s nurses brought him in a wheelchair to see his baby boy today!” Shelly wrote on May 5. “He spoke to judge, and I was there — seeing Jeff for the first time since they left for the hike on Sunday. I can’t express the joy that brought me.”

Their friends visited from afar, holding up signs outside the hospital and sending up prayers for the family.

“Miracles are unfolding within these two fragile bodies and I’m praying we’ll be out of the woods soon. This love is overwhelming. I promise we are feeling the power of your prayers, your words of encouragement, acts of kindness, and vibrations of love — large and small — every minute. I don’t know what else to say right now but thank you from the depths of my heart.”

On June 13, Jeff was released from the hospital, and as of Wednesday, Judge was discharged as well. The family — originally from Nashville — has a lot of hard work ahead of them, and is now renting a house in Atlanta near the doctors Jeff and Judge will need to visit as they continue to recover.

There’s no saying exactly how things will turn out for this family, and doctors have cautioned them that Judge “may have life-long complications from the severity of his injuries.”

Jay Leno's Burns Seen for First Time as He's Released from Hospital

The family remains hopeful for the future and thankful for the prayers and donations that they have received, both of which will help them move forward and heal.

“But we pray for a complete healing everyday, and we are certain that our family (extended to include you) is still living through an active, fluid, and dynamic miracle, that our precious Judge will recover fully, and will live a full and rich life, forever to be known as the boy that took on a majestic red oak, and lived to tell about it!” Shelly wrote on the GoFundMe page.

“It’s overwhelming to consider the encouragement, love and support we’ve already received, and we’re awestruck by the grace and generosity provided us daily, both in ways we see, and in ways unseen but felt.”

“[O]ur family will be forever indebted to the angels who, we believe, appeared to us even as that tree began to fall, and will stay with us for time eternity.”

So far, the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $158,000 and counting, which will help tremendously with the medical bills and relocation costs.

“Hospital living is over for us,” Shelly shared on social media and the GoFundMe page on Wednesday. “Judge has been discharged, thank you Lord!! Headed to set up house in ATL, begin outpatient work, and be together again! It’s happening!!!”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , ,
Parler Share
Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking