Kindergartener prays Florence floods will spare sandbagged school, as dad snaps photo

Facebook screenshot

A kindergartener trying to stop imminent flooding with a prayer has captured the heart-wrenching aftermath of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas.

The boy, 5-year-old Carter Whiteis, was photographed with head bowed as he prayed Thursday outside the sandbagged entrance of his school, Conway Elementary, in coastal Conway, South Carolina.

Carter’s father, Brad Whiteis, posted the photo Thursday on Facebook and it has since been incorporated in flood coverage by multiple news outlets, including CNN.

“I wish my faith was always that strong,” posted Brad Whiteis, along with an explanation of how the scene came to be.

“He (Carter) asked why he hasn’t been to school for several days,” Whiteis wrote. “I told him about the hurricane and the flood waters that are coming. He asked if his school will get flooded. I said it might. So he suggested that we go to his school and pray for it not to flood.”

The moment came as officials predicted flood waters will worsen in the town, which opened more shelters for evacuees.

Gov. Henry McMaster has said the hurricane’s aftermath “may be the worst disaster that we’ve had in South Carolina,” according to a White House briefing on President Donald Trump’s visit to the state earlier this week.

Brad Whiteis told CNN he initially posted the photo because he thought it was cute.

“But then it kind of hit me how powerful it was,” Whiteis told the news outlet. “He just started learning how to pray at church. But he only has prayed a few times...This prayer was different.”

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Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs