ELYSBURG — The community continues to support the local firefighter and veteran who was released from the hospital on Monday after a battle with Legionnaire's disease.
Friends, family and supporters came out of the Elysburg Fire Department on Wednesday evening to sign a memory card for Andrew Jones, 30, of Elysburg, and purchase t-shirts and tickets for a benefit event on Sept. 7. Jones was discharged from Geisinger in Danville on Monday after being admitted on July 21 with a rare form of pneumonia caused by a bacterial infection.
"We came out here to support Andrew in his time of need. It's a good cause," said Julie Hill, of Elysburg.
"You never know when you're going to need help," said her husband Brian Hill.
Jones, a father of a 4-year-old boy who lives in Michigan with his mother, served as a K-9 Officer in the U.S. Air Force and has been a volunteer firefighter with the Elysburg Fire Department since age 14. The disease is caused by a bacteria called Legionella. Its name comes from an outbreak of pneumonia first described in 1976 after people contracted the disease while attending the American Legion convention at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. One person recently died of the disease in Atlanta, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Symptoms of Legionnaires' include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, lethargy, disorientation, and gastrointestinal issues. It is treated by antibiotics and the recovery can take weeks to months, according to Dr. Stanley Martin, the director of infectious diseases for Geisinger
Jones was supposed to be taking it easy, but his brother Eric Jones said he visited the fire department on Monday after his release to talk to his fellow firefighters, and he also made an appearance at the National Night Out in Shamokin on Tuesday. Jones is dealing with some eye issues right now, Eric Jones said.
Kristina Wyland, a Licensed practical nurse from Coal Township, came out on Wednesday to purchase five shirts. A friend of Andrew's for three years, she said she was the one who encouraged Andrew to admit himself to the hospital due to a high fever that wouldn't break.
"I was worried about him," said Wyland.
Family friend Dori Thompson, of Coal Township, said 500 $10 tickets are available for the barbecue chicken dinner planned from 2 to 8 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Elysburg Fire Department. There will be a basket raffle, tickets for a BBQ chicken dinner, entertainment, a dance competition among the firefighters and t-shirts. Tickets are available at the Ralpho Township and Shamokin fire departments and Postage Plus in Shamokin.
The GoFundMe account, set up by Andrew's sister Emma Tuttle, has raised $4,405 toward a $6,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon. The donation page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/strong-fight-andrew-jones.