A community in Tennessee is rallying around a family whose 10-year-old son was swept away in a storm drain after severe weather struck their area.

Asher Sullivan, a fourth-grade student, was playing outside and helping family and neighbors clean up storm debris in their neighborhood in Christiana, around 45 miles southeast of Nashville, on May 8, when the accident happened, according to James Evans, chief communications officer for Rutherford County Schools, where Asher's father, James "Jimmy" Sullivan, serves as director of schools.

"There was some standing water in their streets in their neighborhood, and as the water started moving, Asher was sucked into a drain and pulled underground," Evans told "Good Morning America." "He was underground for 10 to 14 minutes."

Evans said Asher received immediate medical attention when he emerged from underground, but never regained consciousness.

Since then, Asher's father and his mother, Kaycee Sullivan, have not left Asher's side at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he is being treated, according to Evans.

Jimmy Sullivan, who has led Rutherford County Schools, a district with over 50,000 students, for two years, has continued to share daily updates on Facebook about Asher's status, noting that the family is praying for a miracle.

"Asher’s brain is severely damaged. The reality is that the things Asher could do before, he will not be able to do if he recovers (without unexplainable healing)," Jimmy Sullivan posted Tuesday evening. "We will love and cherish any version of Asher we are blessed to keep if that is what is best for Asher."

In an earlier update Tuesday, Jimmy Sullivan said Asher had shown slight movement in one eye and asked people to "keep the prayers coming."

"We had planned to have some rough conversations this afternoon," he wrote. "At roughly 12:00 pm he showed the ever slightest movement in one pupil so doctors put everything on hold and we are continuing the waiting game."

Evans described the Sullivan family, which also includes a middle-school-age son, Declan, as a family loved by others in the community.

In 2020, the community rallied around the family as Declan battled cancer, from which he is now in remission, according to Evans.

Asher, according to Evans, is a "fun-loving" kid who likes to travel with his family and join them in outdoor activities, like hiking.
 

"They’re good people," he said of the Sullivans. "They’re one of those families that everyone loves."

He said the neighborhood where the Sullivans live is one populated by many Rutherford County Schools' teachers and students, many of whom were outside helping at the time of Asher's accident.

The school districted closed schools for two days following the accident.

On May 9, more than 500 people gathered for a prayer vigil for the family, according to Evans.

Over the last several days, as schools around the district mark end-of-year activities and graduations, students and teachers have been wearing green and blue, Asher's favorite colors.

"Everybody is just heartbroken," Evans said.