Pastor Allen Howard and his wife Ronda
CARROLLTON, Ga. -- The man who usually leads the prayers at a Carrollton Church is on the receiving end of those prayers after he and his wife were in a very serious car crash Sunday night in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Allen Howard, the pastor of Bethany Christian Church, is in serious condition at a Pensacola hospital, where he was flown by helicopter. His wife Ronda was treated and released from Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
Howard has been a minister at Bethany Christian Church for the last 30 years. His choir director says he often preaches about being ready. "He has always said and warned people here that you never know what's coming next, and to be prepared for anything," Neil Weathington said.
Evidently Howard was prepared Sunday night when a man driving a black Mercedes ran a red light on Highway 98 and slammed broadside into Pastor Howard's pickup truck. His wife Ronda was driving, and the impact hit on the passenger side of the truck, where Pastor Howard was sitting.
Police said the couple's pickup flipped several times. Howard and his wife sat in the twisted wreckage while rescuers had to cut off the top of the vehicle to get them out.
Howard, a man who has spent his life ministering to others, is being ministered to in serious condition. "Even though he pastors this church, of which I am not a member of this church, he is a minister to this entire community," said Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner. "Any time there's a natural disaster, you'll find Allen and the people from his church there, working."
Weathington said everyone at Bethany can attest to what Pastor Allen is as a minister. "I had a broken arm in the ice storm of 2011 and he drove me to Piedmont Hospital in the ice and snow," he said. "This will be the biggest adjustment for Allen to have to be ministered to."
In an email to Bethany Christian Church parishioners they were told doctors used a halo to stabilize their pastor's head and neck. Doctors said once his condition is stabilized, he may be able to move to a hospital closer to home.
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