A minute after he was born, Cody Jones stopped breathing. Twenty years and more than 60 surgeries later, Cody is a junior at Pickens High School and making the best of life.
Although he was delivered following a normal, full term pregnancy, Cody faced, among other things, a rare lung disease and a severe heart condition that forced him to have open-heart surgery when he was just three weeks old.
“We stayed at Kennestone for three weeks and then went to Egleston, and they found out what all was wrong with him,” said his mother, Angie Jones.
Born in 1991 to Mark and Angie Jones, Cody spent his first five and a half months in a hospital, before being sent home on oxygen and a ventilator. When he left the hospital, his parents and older sister Haley weren’t given much hope, the mother said.
Over the years, things didn’t improve as doctors discovered more and more medical issues.
“Really I couldn’t count the number of surgeries he’s had – it’s 60 plus. He’s got a rare lung disease called bronchomalschia and a heart condition. His open-heart surgery when he was three weeks old was his first surgery. He’s been in and out of Egleston the whole 20 years since he was born.”
Cody now has a trachostophy and uses an oxygen tank during the day fitted with a speaking valve.
“We’ve always called him our miracle,” Jones said.
“Healthy” and “holiday cooking” mix about as well as oil and water, but last Thursday the staff at Piedmont Mountainside Medical Hospital busted open that oxymoron with tips for a sugar-free, sodium-free yuletide meal perfect for diabetics or others with dietary restrictions.
The sounds and smell of cooking rosemary and garlic permeated the hospital cafeteria, where Chef “Sam,” along with a hospital dietician, physician and a local pharmacist were on site to demonstrate cooking and field questions from the room of Dinner and Discussion participants.
With parents and others here alarmed following the grisly abduction and murder of a 7-year-old in neighboring Canton, the Pickens County Sheriff took time Tuesday to discuss the crime and what can be done to keep children safe.
Sheriff Donnie Craig emphasized that nothing like the savage killing of the child in a Canton apartment complex had ever occurred in Pickens County, nor had Canton ever recorded a violent crime against a child like this before.
Craig said word his office has received from Canton law enforcement is that leads indicate the crime was likely committed by someone living nearby and familiar with the apartment complex and was not necessarily a threat here.[Editor's Note Friday update: this did turn out to be the case as a maintenance man was arrested].
Sheriff Craig said this shocking incident should be a wake-up call to everyone for taking precautions to ensure that their children or any children in their community remain safe.
“We may have sat back and said things like this only happen in Fulton or DeKalb counties,” the sheriff said. “But this is a prime example of it happening right in our own backyard. We, as parents, need to take responsibility for keeping our kids safe.”
Craig said this type of crime is hard to prevent from law enforcement agencies without an active community keeping watch.
Top county and judicial officials held a more than two hour meeting with architect Bruce Jennings Friday to go over plans for the massive courthouse project slated to begin within the next few weeks.
The exact start date for demolition of a portion of the downtown courthouse has not been set, but comments at the Friday meeting indicated plans are nearing completion.
Officials present, including Commissioner Robert Jones, Superior Court Judge Brenda Weaver and Sheriff Donnie Craig, agreed to hold one more meeting between Christmas and New Year’s Day with all judicial department heads who will be housed in the new building. There was discussion that a number of other county/judicial officials might be on vacation at that time, but when all present said they could attend, Project Manager Thurman Slone was asked to arrange the meeting.
Architect Jennings said he requested that meeting so everyone involved could be in the same room to go through every detail presented on blueprints.
Wes Farron’s young wife Melanie is praying for good news following a phone call Monday informing her that her 22-year-old husband had been shot and severely wounded while on active duty in Afghanistan. The couple have an 8-month-old son, Asher, whom Wes hasn’t seen since the child was seven weeks old.
Farron is in stable condition, following a first surgery that removed the bullet and repaired damage to his liver and kidney, according to Mrs. Farron’s sister, Erin Martin.
Martin said Farron was scheduled for a second surgery overnight Monday to wash and clean the wound, but, as of press time, the family had not heard how that surgery had gone.
“We just don’t have a lot of information,” said Martin. “We don’t know the extent of the damage to the kidney and liver.”
Farron was deployed to Afghanistan on April 12 of this year and was scheduled to come home January 1. He joined the United States Army in April 2009 and attended boot camp at Fort Benning before being stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Wes and Melanie Lovern Farron will celebrate their second wedding anniversary this December along with their son, Asher.
“Asher was just 7 weeks old when his dad left. Wes hasn’t seen him since then, except when he was occasionally able to Skype on the computer,” Martin said.
Martin said before the injury Farron was scheduled to come back from the field Tuesday.
“Melanie hadn’t talked to him in over a week before the injury, and then she got the phone call Monday that he had been shot. We actually don’t know when he was shot, but the notification call came Monday,” Martin said.
Martin said the family was told Farron was “severely wounded in combat and sustained damage to his liver and kidney, and he is stable, yet critical.”
Once Farron is moved from Afghanistan, possibly to Germany, Melanie, Asher and Wes’s parents will be flown to see him.
“Right now we’re waiting on ‘bedside’ requests, and the doctor has to ask for that,” Martin said. “The army has called and gotten all of Melanie’s travel information. She’ll need to be ready in 2 to 3 hours once she gets word.”
Right now Melanie and her family, the Loverns, members of the Jasper United Methodist Church, are waiting and asking for prayers from the community.
“Prayers are greatly appreciated. That’s the main thing we need right now. The worst part is not knowing. It’s hard when somebody calls you up and says your husband’s been shot and you can’t see him. They have told (Melanie) that he’s stable, and we’re just hanging on to that right now.”