Fort Mill community coming together to support beloved teacher


FORT MILL, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) — This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Fort Mill family is hoping to get results for a man loved by many. That includes students at Fort Mill High School.

The Fort Mill High School band director is recovering in a facility outside of Atlanta, after suffering from three massive strokes while recovering from heart surgery.

“With the language deficit being there, he can’t read words, but he can read music,” said John Pruitt’s son, Sam Pruitt. “And he can follow a tune and read a melody.”

John Pruitt’s students describe the man behind the music as the kind of person who knows how to enter a room and make it sing.

“I wouldn’t be who I am today without his leadership and what he’s put into the band program,” said dtudent Sean Presley.

“We all really miss him a lot,” said student Grace Kern. “We would love to have him back.”

On January 31, the 54-year-old underwent heart bypass surgery.

“Physically, he was recovering from bypass exceptionally well,” said his son Sam.

That was until doctors discovered he had not one, but three massive strokes while recovering.

“It’s been hard to see someone so independent and full of life confined to a hospital and struggling to understand what the circumstances are,” Sam said.

His speech is now jumbled and he has lost a lot of cognitive capabilities. He’s in a post-acute rehab center outside of Atlanta. With insurance no longer covering the costs, the community is rallying around John and his family to help provide support.

“At this point, we are in a private pay setup with the center,” said Sam. “The per diem is over $1,000 a day.”

“It’s been a beautiful thing watching his band circle come together and rally around him,” said Fort Mill Associate Band Director Ren Patel.

The students and entire community just want to help out the man that means so much to them.

“He’s just one of the greatest men I’ve ever met,” said Kern. “I think he serves as a father figure and guiding hand for many of his students as well, which is really special.”

The school is hosting a fundraiser called “Pasta for Pruitt” from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on May 24 at the school. They’ll be selling pasta to raise funds.

You can find a link to the family’s go fund me page by clicking here.

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