BUCKHANNON – Author Gwyn Thorn has returned to Upshur County to share the heart-wrenching story of her granddaughter, Amanda.
Gwyn Thorn is the author of the book “Love Blue: Amanda’s Story.”
“I know some of you are not old enough to remember that 25 years ago this month, Oct. 28, this town awoke to the headline in The Record Delta that said, ‘Man accused of severely beating girl,’” Thorn said. “It was a tragedy that no one ever dreamed would happen here in this town.
“The idea that a three-and-a-half-year-old girl would no longer be able to walk, talk or have any control of her body was a thought that haunted many, but that unfortunately is where the story begins, but it is nowhere near where her story ended.”
She said her daughter, Jennifer, adopted Amanda, making her part of their family.
“The incident that changed Amanda’s life that day, also changed the life of my family, as we were blessed with Amanda now being a part of ours,” Thorn said. “I would say I don’t know what made me want to tell Amanda’s story. But I think, in the recesses of my heart, I knew from the moment I met her that her life was destined to have many accomplishments that someday would need to be shared with the world.”
She said in December 2015, her daughter gave her permission to write Amanda’s story.
“I knew that the one thing I had to do when I was finished was to bring this story back to this town,” Thorn said. “I wanted to say, ‘thank you’ to the people who cared for her, the nurses and doctors at St. Joseph’s Hospital and those who advocated for her,” Thorn said. “Bill Thurman, the prosecuting attorney for the trial; Paula Hinzman, Amanda’s case worker, who trusted Jennifer and Paul to become her parents; and the Buckhannon’s current mayor David McCauley, who was her attorney Ad Litem.”
She said the most important reason she came back to Buckhannon was to let the people know that Amanda had a happy life.
“Most of all, I wanted to share her amazing life with the town’s people who grieved for her,” Thorn said. “I didn’t want to rehash what happened, but I wanted to share with the people in Buckhannon that despite the tragedy, the most remarkable thing I ever witnessed took place. I watched how this beautiful little girl never once saw what happened to her as keeping her from having the life she dreamed of or from sharing the gifts that God bestowed on her.”
She said she also wanted to give back to the community by donating the proceeds of the sale of the book for the month of October to the Upshur County Family Resource Network.
“Many of you may not know this, but FRN, it was started because of Amanda,” Thorn said. “There is a beautiful picture of Amanda, Jennifer and Paul in The Record Delta with Amanda’s smile, and the headline says, ‘Amanda’s story started it all.’”
Thorn will be in Buckhannon for book signings. The first signing will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Upshur County Public Library and the second will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 at Sweet-A-Licious. She also plans to attend an Upshur FRN meeting, which she said may not be open to the public.
Paperback copies of ‘Love Blue: Amanda’s Story’ are available for $12.99 on Amazon.com.