Around 6:30 a.m. Saturday, July 25, Village resident Susan Pressly removed the “Pray for Libby Claire” banner from her yard that she installed one week earlier in honor of her 20-month-old granddaughter, Libby Claire McGarity, who sustained critical head injuries after falling from a loft in the Pressly home.
The day before, Libby Claire was airlifted from All Children’s Hospital, in St. Petersburg, where she had been hospitalized since the July 10 fall, to Levine’s Children’s Hospital, in Charlotte, N.C., which is closer to her home in Lake Wiley, S.C. By tomorrow, Libby Claire could begin inpatient rehabilitation. She is likely to recover fully, her grandmother said.
Pressly and her husband, Jim, received warnings from Longboat Key Code Enforcement officials about the sign in their yard, but she worried that removing it would upset Libby Claire’s siblings, Mac, 10, Beau, 7, and Maggie, 6, who helped their grandmother put up the sign.
Pressly vowed that she would not remove the sign until Libby Claire was airlifted to Charlotte and her other three grandchildren, who were staying the Presslys' home, returned home to Lake Wiley.
Pressly said she is appreciative that town officials allowed the banner to remain in place for one week, despite warnings that she would need to remove it within 24 hours of putting it up. After taking the banner down, she took it, along with an identical banner that Whitney Beach Deli & Wines owners Andrew Hlywa and Dawn diLorenzo removed after receiving a warning, as well, and mailed them to her family in Lake Wiley, where she says the banners are unlikely to generate controversy.
Pressly says she is grateful for the support she has gotten from other residents and the lifesaving care Longboat Key Fire Rescue emergency-medical technicians provided to Libby Claire. Earlier today, Pressly delivered a homemade pound cake to the fire station and read a thank-you letter to on-duty EMTs.
“They saved her life, and there’s no doubt about that,” Pressly said.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].