NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WHAS11) – A Thanksgiving getaway to Gatlinburg turned into a nightmare vacation for the Summers family. Parents Jon and Janet have not been found and their three sons severely injured, caught in the middle of the wildfires.
"I found out today and it was really difficult," said Kelsey Lee. She goes way back with the Summers brothers, sharing the stage with them from time to time as they played music in and around Louisville in separate bands.
"We're all just hoping that the parents will be found so all five of them can have a family Christmas like it should be this year," Lee said.
She's stayed in touch with Branson, Jared and Wesley Summers as they later pursued music careers in Nashville. Their former music teacher, Mark Maxwell, was first introduced to them a decade ago and privately taught them for a couple of years.
"For your 20 something-year-old kids to still want to go on vacation with you, hang out with you, that's something," Maxwell told WHAS11.
From that first meeting, Maxwell knew the sons were special. "It was hard to look away from them. They were so full of life," he said.
Years later, their southern Indiana school remembering their musical passions. The family liaison for New Albany's Community Montessori said Jon and Janet were supportive parents, moving the family in 2008 to let their son's careers take off.
"We hated to see them leave, but we knew they were really passionate about trying to help them take that next step," said staff member Glenn Fondren.
Twins Jared and Wesley are spending today - their 22nd birthday - fighting for their lives in the hospital along with older brother Branson. The family is striking an emotional chord with those who say their musical talents are beyond measure.
"That family really stuck together," Maxwell said.
If you would like to help with the Summers' medical expenses, click here.