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Local coach recovering from serious burns

W. Kenneth Medley II • Mar 15, 2019 at 5:25 PM

Editor’s note: The Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett soccer programs will hold “Michael Smelser Night” when the two teams meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday in Johnson City. They will be collecting gift cards and cash donations to go towards helping Smelser and his family.

JOHNSON CITY — Coach, teacher and community member Michael Smelser is recovering from burns at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, according to a Facebook post by Janie Weaver McNew, his mother.

“My son, Michael Smelser, has been transported to a burn center in Augusta, Georgia, due to a campfire accident yesterday,” McNew’s, statement read in part, “…He is badly burned from his waist down with mild burns other places … All we need at this time is many PRAYERS! Thank you. With God, all things are possible.”

McNew said she and other family members are making arrangements to travel to Georgia Thursday. Smelser’s sister made the trip and spent time with him Wednesday night. The statement said Smelser, a Dobyns-Bennett graduate and Kingsport native, was at his cabin when the accident occurred.

Friend and colleague Richard Church set up a Facebook support page (@welovecoachsmelser) and GoFundMe account. He is asking that people share words of encouragement and support. In addition, Church is asking for people to share stories of Smelser who is known throughout the county for his work in the school systems.

Read more from our partners at the Johnson City Press