Navarre Beach firefighter Chris Jines, 42, has been cleared by his doctors to return to duty after being hospitalized with a severe brain infection likely contracted while responding to a call.
Jines had a case of severe encephalitis which can cause brain inflammation, headaches, flu-like symptoms, stiffness, seizures, confusion and memory loss. Encephalitis cases are generally mild and uncommon in those under 50, but Jines’ case is severe and was potentially life threatening, according to his doctors.
Jines is scheduled to start back to work Monday after a fire department health exam.
While Jines was out of duty, his fellow firefighters banded together to keep him, his wife and their two young children, ages 5 and 7, afloat Chief Mike Howard said. They donated their sick leave and vacation time to Jines so that he would continue to receive a pay check. They also worked hours in his place and gave him the pay.
The community also banded together to support Jines.
“We really appreciate the public and everybody that stepped up,” Howard said. “We can’t say thank you enough to all the people.”
A Go Fund Me account created by Captain Danny Fureigh raised more than $18,000 to help pay for medical expenses Chief Howard said. Go Fund Me is a social media platform where users can setup online donation accounts for any number of causes that site visitors can make donations to, of any size.
Read the Jan. 12 issue of the Navarre Press for more on this story and an update on the condition of nurse Christa Gibson who’s story accompanied Jines’ in earlier additions.