Shannon and Lisa Jones are a long way from their home state of Arkansas and the support of family.
But they have the support of their adopted community.
A fish fry and bingo benefit have been planned for March 8 at the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds. Proceeds from the fundraising event will go toward the Joneses’ medical bills.
The family’s 4-year-old daughter, Alyssa, has leukemia. She returned home Feb. 15 after undergoing treatment at Children’s Hospital in Denver.
Alyssa was diagnosed on New Year’s Eve. She spent 10 days in the hospital, and then came home, before returning to the hospital because of complications from her chemotherapy treatment.
“She couldn’t eat for three weeks,” Shannon said. “They had her on feeding tubes, and they had a tube to drain her pancreas.”
The good news, Shannon, said, is “the swelling has gone down in her pancreas and the infection is gone.”
For the Joneses, it has been gut-wrenching to see their daughter go through a serious medical issue at such a young age.
“All she knows is she is real sick,” Lisa said.
“She doesn’t understand what is happening,” Shannon said. “She just knows she’s sick.”
The Joneses have another daughter, Brittney, who is 2. The family moved to this area because of Shannon’s job. He is a welder for Rust Construction, which is building the Williams Willow Creek Gas Plant in the Piceance Basin.
Because of Alyssa’s condition, he has had to miss a considerable amount of work, but the company has been understanding, he said.
“I haven’t worked but about a week since New Year’s Eve,” Shannon said. “They told me to just take whatever time I needed, to come back to work when we got (Alyssa) home.”
Rust Construction donated $1,000 for the bingo jackpot.
“Every-body has been really nice, making sure we have support and everything,” said Shannon’s wife, Lisa.
The fundraising event for the Joneses is being organized by Paul “Buckshot” and Shannon Sheridan.
The Sheridans’ 13-year-old son, John Mack, suffered a broken leg in a two-vehicle accident Jan. 3 on Highway 13, about 20 miles from Meeker, while returning from a hunting trip. The two men in the vehicle with John Mack — Lee Bones and Jason Smith — rent from the Sheridans and just so happened to work with Shannon Jones.
“They came to us and said they really wanted to do something nice for this guy,” Shannon Sheridan said. “They said he’s a really good person, can you help us?”
The Sheridans didn’t hesitate.
“Just recently having gone through something with our own son, it just hit home,” Sheridan said. “We’re supporters of anything that has to do with kids. A child is a child, regardless of what county they are from. I can’t begin to fathom what they (the Joneses) are going through. They are just good, hard-working people trying to make ends meet.”
The Sheridans contacted Andrea Harmon of the Meeker Lions Club, who suggested the idea of having a bingo benefit. And White River Electric Association will provide a trailer with the fryers to cook the fish. Dick Welle and Dale Dunbar of WREA will do the cooking.
There will be a $15 admission fee for the fish fry and 10 bingo games. The event will start at 4 p.m.
Shannon Sheridan said people can contact her or “Buckshot” at 878-5080 if they want to make a donation.
“It’s amazing,” Shannon Sheridan said. “I don’t know how much money we’ll raise, but people have just jumped in to help.”
Deni Saucedo (formerly Back) had good news to report about her husband, Daniel, a sergeant in the Army, who was seriously wounded while leading a mission July 27 in Iraq. Deni and Daniel have been staying in housing for military families in Washington, D.C., where Daniel is an outpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
“We are doing good,” Deni said. “Since November, Daniel has had four more surgeries. We came home (to Copperas Cove, Texas) for Thanksgiving and again for a month at Christmas. His unit put him on orders to come home from Feb. 12 to 22 to attend the Welcome Home Squadron Ball, so we came back for that. We returned on the 22nd to D.C. On Tuesday, Daniel underwent surgery to repair his urethra, and then hopefully only one more surgery after that. We will be in D.C. for a couple of more months.
“Daniel is doing really good,” said Deni, who grew up in Meeker. “He has been walking more, and he continues to have really good spirits. His unit returned to Fort Hood on Jan. 18, and he was able to meet them at the airport. It was a very good welcome home for all the guys.”
Both of the major political parties in the county recently elected local officers.
The Republicans met Feb. 12 in Meeker and re-elected David Smith of Meeker as chairman, Mike Morgan of Rangely as vice chairman, and Karen Arnold of Meeker as secretary/treasurer.
Pat Hughes and Gary Moyer were appointed co-chairs for Precinct 3 in Meeker, Logan and Jennifer Hill were appointed co-chairs for Precinct 1 in Rangely, and Stephanie Oldland was appointed chairwoman for Precinct 5 in Piceance Basin.
The Democrats met Feb. 15 in Meeker and elected Michelle Hale of Meeker as chairwoman, Jon Bader of Rangely as vice chairman, and re-elected Reed Kelley of Meeker as secretary/treasurer.
A Senate bill that would increase vehicle registration fees and add tolls on some roads to pay for road and bridge repairs in the state is making its way through the Legislature.
Senate Bill 108 would increase the registration fee from about $26 for a typical vehicle to $41.
“(The bill) continues to move forward,” said Sen. Al White, R-Hayden. “Honestly, I don’t know whether it will change or not. I would prefer to see some of the fees reduced and the tolling authority go away. I have a feeling, as imperfect as the bill is, we have to find some earmark for transportation funding in the state. I understand the dissatisfaction, but I don’t see any other solutions out there.”
The bill narrowly passed the Senate last week, despite no Republican support, and now goes to the House.
I read recently that, because of the economy and families looking for inexpensive meals, Spam was making a comeback. That’s Spam as in the pre-cooked meat that comes in a can; not the annoying junk e-mail that shows up in your inbox. I grew up eating Spam, and it’s still a regular feature on the menu at my folks’ house. However, I can say that’s one thing I didn’t inherit from my parents.
Jeff Burkhead is editor of the Herald Times. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.