Congregation expresses gratitude after woman injured by tainted tea released from hospital

Posted at 6:05 PM, Aug 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-25 09:15:11-04

SANDY, Utah -- The woman who drank a toxic cup of sweet tea from a Dickey's Barbecue Restaurant in South Jordan is out of the hospital as of Saturday, and Jan Harding’s family and church celebrated the good news with a special Sunday service.

“A tight prayer chain, so when we did hear the news about Jan everyone in the church was praying for her, and we’re really excited that she’s now back at home,” said Steven Whites, who is a Crossroads Church member.

For years, most Sundays Jan Harding and her family could be found here, the Crossroads Church in Sandy where her husband, Jim, occasionally gives Sunday sermons and her grandchildren take Bible study.

“Physically doing anything we can to help them, but also through prayer and support of the family is very important,” church member Wilna Swaim said.

Jan of course has missed the last two Sunday services; she was in the hospital from August 10 to Saturday for severe chemical burns to her mouth, throat, and esophagus. Injuries she suffered after drinking a cup of sweet tea that had been accidentally mixed in with cleaning chemicals. A former Dickey’s employee spoke to FOX 13 News about how the drink may have come to be contaminated, click here for details.

“For most of us, it was a tremendous shock,” Whites said. “Just to hear that something like that would happen to anyone, but then to hear it was someone that close to us that went through that. It was very difficult.”

A note in the church bulletin reminds the congregation every week to keep Jan Harding in their prayers. Everyone here has kept a close eye on her progress.

Now the family's attorney is tasked with figuring out why no one got rid of the toxic mix when it was made, or how anyone allowed it to end up in Harding’s drink.

But her family and church are just trying to focus on the positive: That when she’s ready, Jan will be back for Sunday service.

“Dr. Jim put it this way, that there’s not many people who could go through something like this, but Jan can,” Whites said.

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