Benefit for Firefighter Battling Legionnaires’ Disease

SHAMOKIN, Pa. -- A man from Northumberland County who has served our country and helped to keep the community safe has been fighting for his life.

Now, the community is coming together to help pay for his medical bills.

"He's a caring person, willing to help anybody out. Outgoing, funny, always makes everybody laugh and smile."

That's how Eric Jones describes his 30-year-old brother, Andrew. For the past couple of weeks, the firefighter and veteran, who served in Iraq, is fighting for his life. But the good news is, he's improving.

"He's able to talk, and each day, he's getting louder and louder," said Andrew's mother Susan Pufnock. "He actually made a phone call to me this morning, so I couldn't hear him quite well but I think he's doing quite well.

In late July, the Elysburg native was in critical condition in the hospital after being diagnosed with Legionnaire's Disease -- a severe form of pneumonia that's caused by bacteria. A man who's spent his life serving our country and fighting fires was left wondering if he'd make it.

"When I seen him Tuesday, it was horrible. I broke down crying. We didn't know what to expect. Now, with him being off the ventilator and him walking around, it's amazing," added Andrew's sister Emma Tuttle.

Word of Andrew's condition spread quickly throughout Northumberland County, and Heritage Restaurant in Shamokin wanted to help out. A portion of every food sale throughout the day went toward Andrew's medical expenses.

"Words can't even describe it. It's unbelievable to see the love and support that they have for Andrew and how everybody is banding together to help him," said Pufnock.

For those of you out there wondering how Andrew is doing, here's a message from the man himself.

He said, "They said I might be going home tomorrow or the next day. I just want to say thank you again. I love everybody. I can't say thank you enough for everything that everybody has done.

It's another example of the community coming together to support their own.

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