(VALLEY MILLS, Texas) — A Texas family is mourning the loss of a beloved father and the hospitalization of his young son following a lightning strike.
Matthew Boggs was walking his sons Elijah, 11, and Grayson, 6, home after school on May 15, when lightning struck him and Grayson, according to Stephanie Burris, who is Boggs’ first cousin.
Burris told “Good Morning America” that the father and sons were walking together on the family’s driveway in Valley Mills, Texas, after Boggs picked up his sons from the bus stop.
At a separation in the driveway, Elijah veered left, while Grayson and Boggs, 34, veered to the right together, according to Burris.
Burris said family members who were home at the time told her Boggs reached down and grabbed Grayson’s hand after the two had separated from Elijah, and told his son that he loved him.
Just seconds later, the lightning bolt struck, killing Boggs and severely injuring Grayson.
“His last words were, ‘I love you buddy,’ to his son,” Burris said of her cousin.
The local sheriff’s office confirmed the lightning strike in a May 16 Facebook post.
“On arrival, responders located an adult male and a 6 year old child who were not responsive,” the statement read. “Responders determined that the adult male was deceased and the child was unresponsive, but breathing.”
Burris said the lightning strike appeared to come out of nowhere, noting there were few clouds in the sky and Boggs’ mom, who lives next door, was outside mowing the lawn at the time.
Grayson is currently being treated at Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center in Temple, Texas, where he remains on a ventilator.
“It seems like he’s making very small progress every day, but we don’t know if it’s purposeful,” Burris said. “Until he’s off [the ventilator], we’re not going to know the extent of his deficits.”
The hospital declined to comment on Grayson’s condition, citing patient confidentiality.
Burris has started a GoFundMe account to help support Grayson in his ongoing recovery, as well as Elijah and the boys’ mother Kayla Boggs.
“As we learned more about the extent of Grayson’s injuries, he’s going to need some sort of care for the rest of his life,” Burris said, adding, “There has been such an outpouring of love and support for them. It’s just amazing.”
Burris said the family is focused on Grayson’s recovery and remembering Boggs, whom she described as a devoted dad.
At the time of the lightning strike, Grayson was just three days away from finishing kindergarten, and Boggs was three months shy of his 35th birthday.
“When it came to the boys, they were his world,” Burris said. “They were his little buddies. They loved to wrestle and play video games.”
She continued, “One of Elijah’s favorite things with his dad was when they would go swimming at the pool. They really let loose and would just play for hours and have so much fun in the water.”
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