Upstate firefighter seriously injured in wreck soon to start reh - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate firefighter seriously injured in wreck soon to start rehab, mother says

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Joseph Blanton. (Source; Family) Joseph Blanton. (Source; Family)
Joseph Blanton (Courtesy: Jessica Glenn Blanton) Joseph Blanton (Courtesy: Jessica Glenn Blanton)
Message for Blanton outside Starr Fire Department (Nov. 21, 2017/FOX Carolina) Message for Blanton outside Starr Fire Department (Nov. 21, 2017/FOX Carolina)
STARR, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Anderson County firefighter is recovering after he was badly hurt in a car accident on the morning of November 20.

The Starr Fire Department confirmed via Facebook that firefighter Joseph Blanton was involved in the serious crash along Highway 29.

The fire department asked the community for prayers after the crash.

Blanton's mother, Jessica Glenn Blanton, said he was taken to the trauma ICU at Greenville Health System. She said Blanton was headed to GHS, where he is enrolled in their EMT program, when the wreck occurred.

"We have seen some good sign through the night and are awaiting further test results," Jessica Blanton said Tuesday morning. "We want to thank our community and fire department family for their prayers! We feel them and they are working! It's hard to see Joseph on the other side of a fire scene. Anyone who knows him knows his life purpose is to serve his community through public service."

Later on November 21, she issued another update:

"Just our deepest appreciation for the prayers and love we have been shown. I've told him all about everything and he sends his love and thanks and asks for continued prayers! He's an amazing man with a heart of gold for serving his community. From the day he was old enough to start fire training he has signed up for any and all classes available. He then followed his desire to chase his servant's heart to the EMS side of public service. Whether wearing a Sparky the Dog costume in 4th of July heat or extricating and providing patient care to a highschool friend on a wreck scene he's always up for the job. I've never seen him back down from anything and I feel for certain he won't back down from the recovery journey!"

The fire department also released an update on that evening saying, "We've seen continued improvements today! Lots of great news and gains. He's been talking and visiting with friends and asking for food. We still have a long way to go but we are on our way!"

On November 22, Blanton's mother shared another statement on her son's condition:

We've had another great day. He's been able to eat some soft foods and has drank lots of juice. Medically he is doing great. He's aware of temperature on his lower body and is continuing to show signs of progress. We know that we have a long slow road ahead but are very optimistic! I sat down with him for a while this afternoon and read him comments, texts and messages that have been sent to his phone and Facebook page over the past few days. After a few I would hesitate to make sure he wanted to continue. Each time he would say keep going! He has enjoyed the encouragement and love shown! Keep the prayers coming! 

Blanton's mother shared the latest update with FOX Carolina on Tuesday. She said her son should be moving to a rehabilitation facility over the next few days.

"We were moved to a regular room tonight. He has continued to gain feeling and movement. We know that we have a long road ahead with rehabilitation and beyond but he's ready to work. We should be moving to a rehabilitation facility over the next few days after his assessments are completed. We have had some of the best Doctors and Nurses providing the best care over the last week.We cannot express our gratitude to Greenville Hospital for everything! Each person who has come in contact with us has treated us like family. We would also like to thank our community and Fire/EMS family for the continued prayers and support."

On Thursday, Blanton’s mother said he continues to improve and will start rehab at Roger C. Peace on Friday. She added, “Medically, he’s doing great, but the focus now is getting him to walk again and doctors believe he will.”

The community of Starr is coming together to help Joseph with his recovery. “He wants to wear a firefighter or a paramedic t-shirt everyday during his rehab, said Gregg Harrell, a family friend and manager of Starr Mart.

Gregg Harrell, Kelly Johnson and Amanda Pinson have collected t-shirts from multiple EMS and fire departments across the country.

“We all started making contacts and calls. We have t-shirts coming from from as far away as Yuma, Arizona, Ohio and Florida,” said Kelly Johnson. 

Johnson said their goal is to collect enough t-shirts so Joseph can wear a different one each day of rehab.

“That will push him to take each step. Even if the steps are hard it will give him the motivation to take another one,” said Johnson, “It shows that day-in and day-out people support him in the United States, locally and throughout.”

Starr Mart is actively collecting t-shirts from paramedics and firefighters. They can be dropped off or mailed to 7306 Highway 81 S, Starr, SC 29684. 

The store is also selling t-shirts to help with Joseph’s medical expenses. Those shirts are $10 and can be purchased at Starr Mart. The deadline for orders is Monday, Dec. 4.

Further details about the crash have not yet been released.

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