A tragic car accident left a community shocked—and inspired them to rally together to help the lone survivor.
In June, the Bova family, from Archdale, North Carolina, was vacationing in Utah when their car was struck by a distracted driver. The disastrous accident killed most of the family: parents Holly and Tyrone, and youngest son Haden.
The only survivor was 17-year-old Tyler Bova, who remains in the ICU at a Utah hospital. He has undergone multiple surgeries since the crash.
Back in Archdale, the small community was left grieving the loss of their neighbors.
“When I saw it on Facebook, I just went crazy,” local woman Debbie Griffin told WFMY. “I taught Tyler in third grade, and I just had Haden in first grade. He would have been a fifth grader this year. I worked really closely with both of them.The whole family is a really great family.”
“We’re lost. A part of us is gone,” family friend Lori Hales said. “Holly and Ty and Hayden and Tyler were like family … we are at a loss.”
Tyler has been in everyone’s thoughts. The young football player lost his entire family at once and is making a long recovery. His teammates were left stunned by the turn of events.
“I was in the shower getting ready to head out for work, and she came in and told me and I basically just fell down in the shower,” David Parrish, Tyler’s best friend’s father, told WFMY.
“That was the hardest thing I would ever have to say to those kids … it was a very emotional moment.”
Parrish’s son traveled to Utah to visit his hospitalized best friend. But back at home, the locals were putting together an incredible fundraiser for Tyler.
On July 13, friends and neighbors gathered for a benefit event at Griffin Farm in High Point—owned by Griffin and her husband.
The gathering had food, music, a raffle, a silent auction and even a cornhole tournament—all in the spirit of “Tyler Tough” and “Bova Strong.” The goal was to raise $100,000 for the teen, hoping to cover his medical bills and funeral expenses for his family.
“I can’t believe this,” Parrish said at the event. “This is what community is about … this is community right here.”
The event was put together by The Grown Ups Benefit, including a local native named Joey Hilburn.
“Proud to be part of this community,” Hilburn said. “I grew up here … and I know that this is going to help him on his road to recovery.”
The Facebook page Built Tyler Tough provides updates on Tyler’s condition, as he moves forward on the road to recovery with surgeries and physical and speech therapy.
What happened to the teen is devastating and will take time to heal, but for now at least he has plenty of supporters from his hometown looking out for him.