The Harker family has a message for the Lawrence community on this holiday
As many mark Thanksgiving today with their families, the Harker family is giving their thanks to the Lawrence community.
"We just want to say thank you," Sue Harker said. "The support has just been tremendous."
The family has received an outpouring of financial and emotional support from Lawrence residents following the return home of Brad Harker, a Lawrence High School graduate who spent three months in an Ohio hospital after being savagely beaten with a bat.
Harker, 20, a Kansas State University baseball player, returned home in mid-October after being beaten in his sleep in July at a fraternity house on the Ohio State University campus. He was in a coma several days at Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus.
Since his return, he has received an estimated 1,500 letters and cards and nearly $20,000 in financial support from fund raisers, business and individuals.
"We can't keep up with the thank yous," Sue Harker said. "We wanted everyone to know that one-half of his commitment and progress is because of the Lawrence community."
Brad, who still is undergoing physical therapy, added, "It really helps my concentration when I keep getting letters -- it helps keep me motivated."
Brad has regained much of his memory, speech and walking skills. He still is nearly blind in his right eye, but doctors say that condition could correct itself anytime, he said.
"From what happened, I'm pretty well off," he said, noting that his recovery has been proceeding smoothly.
Columbus police still don't have a suspect in the July 16 beating, he said.
"I haven't talked to the police since I got home," he said. "But from what they've told me, it's kind of an ongoing (investigation). Hopefully, I'll remember the person who did it."
Since being at home, friends have taken him to regular rehabilitation in Overland Park. He also has returned to Manhattan on several occasions to attend KSU football games and spend time with his roommates there.
Brad and his mother, Sue, father, Jay, and sister, Katie, will be spending today with Sue's sister, brother-in-law and two nieces.
"We're going to eat late," Sue Harker said. "We'll watch all the football games first."