Benefit set for burn victim

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ashland Eagles to host Feb. 23 event


Thursday, Jan. 24, was just another day for Josh Barton. The Coal Grove man woke up, put on his boots and went to work like normal. But an oxygen leak in his equipment turned his normal day into the worst one of his family’s life.

Barton, 36, an employee of Stein Inc., suffered third-degree burns over 25 percent of his body in the accident at AK Steel’s Ashland Works. He was taken from the scene to Our Lady of Bellefonte in Russell, Ky., before eventually going to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.

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Barton’s wife, Pam, said when the family first arrived at the hospital they were told he had a 50-50 chance of making it. Twenty days later, he is making progress and they are just trying to keep a positive attitude, Pam said.

“I’ve been here since it happened,” Pam said. “He was critical for so long that I didn’t want to leave him. When they told us the chances, I said ‘I’m not leaving. I’m staying here with him.’ I’ve been here so long I’ve gotten to know the place pretty well. I call the gift shop my mall and the cafeteria my food court. There is so much bad we could focus on, but we are choosing to focus on the positive.”

One of the positive things they are focusing on is the benefit organized by the Ashland Eagles for Barton, Pam said. The couple are long-time members of the Eagles and Pam said it is odd to be on the other side of such an event. She and her husband are usually working hard to help others, and anyone who spoke of Barton would say he is usually one of the first ones to drop what he is doing and help others, Pam said.

“What they are doing is just outstanding,” Pam said. “Because they are doing this for us, Josh and I are trying to help them out as well and use this as a membership drive of sorts. They are our extended family that we rely on when something goes wrong. They help a lot of people in need.”

Pam said, assuming things are going well at the time, she plans to attend the benefit. It is most likely it will be the first time she has left the hospital since the incident, she said, but she feels it will mean a lot to those who attend the benefit to have her there.

“His aunt is supposed to stay with him that day,” Pam said. “I’m OK knowing someone I trust is there, but it is going to be really hard for me to be away from him.”

Barton has received visits from a multitude of individuals and groups, Pam said. Barton’s union, Local 181, has been a great help to her.

“They have been taking care of me,” Pam said. “They have brought money, food, you name it, they have brought it. They have taken donations, collections and have made sure our little boy has had food. They have been a huge help in the healing process.”

Barton’s 8-year-old son has had to switch schools since the accident. Pam said since she was in the hospital 24/7, family has stepped up to help out. Their son stayed in Ashland for a while, but Pam said the change was difficult for him and they switched him back to his old school and another family member took him in.

Pam said Barton still stays in touch with his son through Skype.

While he regained his voice, it is still difficult for Barton to speak. His voice is raspy, but he, like his wife, is maintaining a positive attitude.

“I think it’s awesome what the Eagles are doing,” Josh said. “I’m not feeling too hot right now, but the staff here is excellent. They are all about getting you better.”

Barton went into surgery again Tuesday, but Pam said it would be a few days before they know if the new grafts will take or not. She said that is the hardest part, the waiting.

“We could be here as little as three weeks, but it could be as long as 10,” Pam said. “He has an infection that he got after trying to put himself out on the scene. We want to get out and start rehab, but we never know what will happen. Every time one of the grafts doesn’t take it adds on another week.”

But while they aren’t trying to get their hopes up too high, they still stay strong and stay positive, Pam said. She echoed Barton in saying the staff at Cabell Huntington has been amazing and she is thankful for them.

The benefit at the Ashland Eagles will be Saturday, Feb. 23, noon to 9 p.m. The event is free of charge and Dennis “Slim” Thevenin, 92.7 and 98.5 The Planet DJ will be master of ceremonies.

There will also be a dart tournament at 1 p.m. There is a $10 entry fee, with half of the money going to the Bartons and the other half for prizes.

The club will also donate 25 cents from every drink sold during the benefit.

Roger Long, president of Ashland Eagles said the fraternity is a brotherhood, and Barton is a brother. He said the organization will do all they can to help a brother in need.

The event will feature many bands and musical performances:

• Kebo Cyrus – 12:00 p.m.

• The Return – 1:00 p.m.

• Southern Thunder – 2:00 p.m.

• MayDay – 3:00 p.m.

• CornBread Mafia – 4:00 p.m.

• Hollow Hills – 5:00 p.m.

• Lickity Split – 6:00 p.m

• Alias – 7:00 p.m.

• Stacce Lawson/Under Social – 8:00 p.m.

• GYPZY ROZE – 9:00 p.m.

Pam said the event was originally supposed to be shorter, but more and more bands showed up wanting to perform they extended the event. She said they eventually had to start turning down people wanting to play to help support the benefit.

Those seeking more information on the benefit can call Pam Barton at (740) 479-1931 or Ashland Eagles at (606) 324-7644.