08/26/10 — Former Goldsboro man in coma in Montana

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Former Goldsboro man in coma in Montana

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 26, 2010 1:46 PM

A 25-year-old Montana man who grew up in Goldsboro is in an induced coma following a speedgliding accident Aug. 13 that broke his back and neck.

Joe Stone is the nephew of Debbie Kimbrell, owner of Associated Parcel in Pikeville.

She said he had gone free gliding on Mount Jumbo when the accident occurred.

"He was on his fourth descent for the day, he got tangled up somehow and whatever he was doing, he fell to the bottom of the mountain," she said.

Stone has since undergone surgery, but the prognosis remains uncertain, Ms. Kimbrell said.

"He had a rough weekend," Ms. Kimbrell said this week. "Sunday, they put in a stint to pull fluids out of his stomach, ran tests. It's touch and go. His oxygen levels have dropped, and he has developed pneumonia. So that's changed the course of his antibiotics."

Doctors are still discussing options with the family, she added.

At this point, in addition to being in an induced coma, Stone is on a respirator to give his lungs time to heal, she said.

It's a stark contrast to the vibrant, daredevil young man who moved to Montana two years ago, Ms. Kimbrell said.

"He loves life -- the hiking, the snowboarding," she said.

Joe Stone was born in Goldsboro and Ms. Kimbrell's brother also was raised here, she said.

Ron and Kim Stone left Wayne County years ago, moving to Minnesota. Then two years ago, Joe decided to set out on his own.

"He left with money in a savings account and what he could get in his pickup truck," she said.

Joe was content to do odd jobs, then got hired to work in landscaping. But it was all supplemental to his love of the outdoors, his aunt said.

The accident has hit the family hard, she said. But they are holding out hope that he will recover and resume the active lifestyle he enjoys.

"We still don't know what the road ahead of him holds," Ms. Kimbrell said. "I do know that Ronnie was telling me (Joe) needed to get some health insurance. He had just got his acceptance letter last week that the cards would be in the mail, to be effective Sept. 1. The accident occurred Aug. 13.

"He was doing all the right things to get himself established and something like this happens and here he is with no insurance. This weight of what's ahead and the cost of getting what he needs without insurance ... it's going to be tough for him."

It's also been difficult for family members in Wayne and Wilson counties, waiting for updates and feeling helpless.

"We can't physically be out there and help them, but if we can do something from this end, in the way of fundraisers, that's what I hope to do," Ms. Kimbrell said.

A fund has already been set up in Montana to help with Stone's medical expenses, through Wings Financial Credit Union. Checks can be sent to Wings Financial, 14985 Glazier Ave., Apple Valley, MN 55124-6539.

A website has also been established for the family to post updates on Joe's condition and allows guests to share notes of encouragement, Ms. Kimbrell said. It's www.caringbridge.org/visit/joestone.

"The family can't stay on the phone giving everybody updates but you can log on daily and read tributes of what people have had to say about him," she said.