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Churches unite to help former resident

Local churches are pulling together to help one of their own, former Ironton resident Don Jenkins.

Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Local churches are pulling together to help one of their own, former Ironton resident Don Jenkins.

Jenkins, 70, suffered a head injury and slipped into a coma while on a missionary trip to Cost Rica.

Pastor Dale Carden of the First United Methodist Church of Ashland, said that the injury occurred when Jenkins slipped into a trench.

"He doesn’t see well," Carden said. "The first night they were there, they were walking back from dinner and he just stepped into the trench."

Carden said that Jenkins complained of a headache that night. The next day fellow members of the trip were unable to wake him.

Jenkins is in a hospital in Cost Rica. Doctors there say that he has suffered a hematoma. His prognosis is good as Carden said that he has responded to verbal commands.

"They hope to transport him back to King’s Daughters Medical Center on Thursday or Friday," said Carden.

In the meantime, the First Methodist Church has been raising money to defray the costs of bringing him back home.

"The hospital bills are cheaper in Costa Rica," said Carden. "But they don’t accept insurance. And the transport back will be around $20,000."

Jenkins’ wife, Sue, and his children, Rayann Mains and David Jenkins of Ironton, and Debbie Payne of Richmond, Va. have all flown down to Costa Rica to be with him.

Other churches are pitching in to help as well. On Sunday evening, the Sharon Baptist Church in Ironton raised over $1,000. Pastor Steve Harvey remembers Jenkins from his childhood.

"Don is a swell guy. He is salt of the earth, and his whole family is the same way," said Harvey. "I had him on my paper route as a boy and he has always been this way."

Pastor Carden agreed.

"Despite his limited vision, he’s continued to do remarkable things," Carden said. "It’s terrible for something like this to happen, especially while he was doing God’s work."