Viola Mayor Kevin Lawrence was airlifted to Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville on Thursday morning after neighbors found him unresponsive at his home.
According to family friend Steven Helton, who was at the hospital Thursday night, Lawrence is breathing on his own and showing signs of improvement. He is in a stable state and not in a coma. However, doctors are not exactly sure what happened to him and he remained in intensive care last night at press time.
“The family wants to thank everyone who has called, texted and asked about Kevin,” said Helton. “The number of phone calls have been overwhelming. Right now the family is asking for prayers from the community. That’s the best thing that can help Kevin right now.”
Lawrence, who turns 47 on Friday, was reportedly not feeling well Wednesday. He told neighbor Jim Davenport about tingling he was experiencing in his right hand, which prompted Davenport to check on him Thursday morning.
“I was concerned about him so I tried to reach him on the phone,” said Davenport. “When I couldn’t reach him, I went over to his house with a first-responder. He was there in bed but we couldn’t wake him.”
Lawrence is well known in Viola, both as mayor and fire chief. He’s also known in the McMinnville community for the 25 years he spent at McMinnville Fire Department, many of those as fire chief.