‘An absolute miracle’: Good Hope Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Garmon home recovering from H1N1 after monthslong hospital stay

Good Hope Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Garmon before he became ill with H1N1 (Courtesy of Casidy Garmon)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – This year, a lengthy and harrowing hospital stay had the Good Hope community rallying to support its volunteer fire department and the family of Assistant Chief Jamie Garmon. He finally got to come home in this month, “an absolute miracle,” according to his wife Casidy Garmon, who said he still has a lengthy recovery ahead of him. The Tribune spoke with her to get an update on her husband’s condition, as well as to learn how this ordeal has affected them and how people can continue to help.

Garmon described the hospitalization, which began in January, as “living in a nightmare.” She said Jamie Garmon was septic with H1N1 (commonly known as the Swine Flu), and he spent time on a ventilator.

“The virus attacked all the muscles in his body, then all his organs shut down,” she said. “We were told by three different doctors to be prepared in case he didn’t pull through.”

Ultimately, he recovered enough to be taken off the ventilator in early February, and though he’s home now, he is still unable to walk. Garmon said he continues to get stronger every day.

“This ordeal has torn our world upside down, but we’re getting stronger,” she said. “It’s been very difficult, especially on our kids. You know, Jamie grew up without a father, and we didn’t want the same to happen to the kids, but he pulled through and we’re all recovering.”

She said the ordeal brought the fire department family closer to them as well.

“Jamie’s been with the fire department for 30 years,” she said. “The folks there are like brothers and sisters, and they’re another part of our family. This has affected each and every one of them, and we’ve been supporting each other as best we can.”

When asked if there is anything the community can do to help the family through her husband’s continued recovery, Garmon simply said to keep praying. She also took the time to thank the community and local churches for all the help they have already given.

“They prayed for us, they donated money. I didn’t have to worry about anything like that,” she said.

She said it felt strange to be on the receiving end of such kindness and generosity when she is used to giving it, but she said she and her family couldn’t have made it through everything without everyone’s kindness and support.

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Heather Mann