Phillip Shelton was badly burned in an industrial accident at Abitibi-Bowater paper mill. He has spent the last 23 days in the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.
According to his son Steven Shelton, “Dad was able to eat his entire breakfast this morning and was able to sit straight up for a few minutes before he asked to be laid back down a little.”
Phillip is also complaining a little and the family sees that as a major improvement toward his recovery and getting back to normal.
The longtime Bradley County volunteer fireman and Bowater employee was severely burned Oct. 28, while fighting a coal bunker fire at the Calhoun paper mill.
Shelton suffered second- and possibly third-degree burns on 25 percent of his body, mostly his back, hands and face, according to early reports and family members.
Shelton was originally transported to Erlanger Medical Center for treatment. He was then transferred to one of the premier burn units in the country, the Augusta facility.
In fact, the facility is touted as the busiest and largest in the country, treating more than 3,000 burn patients per year.
“The burns on his right arm and both hands were deep second- and third-degree — so they were forced to take skin from his thigh to complete the surgery last week,” according to Steven.
“They have removed the bandages for the most part but left his right arm and hands covered,” said his son.
Shelton did walk some Saturday and he was transferred to the “Step-Down Unit.”
Phillip is a veteran of fighting fires with the Charleston Fire Department, now Bradley County Fire Rescue, and is also a member of the Bowater Emergency Response Team.
His daughter Shelley said her father had been fighting fires since he was about 18 years old.
For well-wishers who want to send get-well cards or letters, write to: Joseph M Still Burn Center, ICU Burn Center Room 324, 3651 Wheeler Road, Augusta, GA 30909, in care of Phillip Shelton.
The address for the social networking site is www.facebook.com, then search for “Praying for Phillip Shelton.”