Indiana family moved by community support after father’s diagnosis: ‘It’s a loving Lufkin zone’

Indiana family moved by community support after father’s diagnosis: ‘It’s a loving Lufkin zone’

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Indiana couple’s trip to South Padre Island took them through Lufkin, but it would become their final stop in Texas after the husband after a medical emergency landed the husband in a coma.

For the past five years, Thomas and Bonnie Barnes have traveled from Rushville, ID to Padre Island for the winter. On Jan. 10, the trip took a devastating turn.

“We watched the game, and about 10 o’clock, 11, we went to bed," said Bonnie Barnes. “We went to bed and at 1 a.m. I got up and found Tom on the floor, and he was non-responsive and at the time I didn’t know, but in a coma.”

Fortunately for the couple, they were only 5 miles away from CHI St. Luke Memorial Hospital. Emergency Medical Technician’s quickly responded.

“These gentlemen who, some of them it was probably awkward for them, but they were comforting and the little gal at the reception desk, she came and sat with me and cried and prayed,” said Barnes. “So, I knew we were in a good place.”

After several tests, doctors revealed to Barnes her husband’s diagnosis was a brain bleed. After surgery, days of prayer and being alone, Thomas was moved from the intensive care unit to hospice in the Pines Inpatient Unit. As for Bonnie, she was joined by her three kids.

“This was all something I never thought would never happen, and I have to say that Tom was a kind of man, and I think anybody can tell you, in our hometown he was a servant," Barnes said. “He gave back. He was a Navy veteran. He gave back there. We went into business and he’s always watched out for people.”

As the Barnes family adjusts to their new lives, they focus on now what they’ve lost, but what they’ve gained from the love and support from the city of Lufkin.\

“The phrase is that we’re in the Lufkinz one, and it’s a loving Lufkin zone,” said Barnes. “And out of all of our family vacations, we’re moved our home, RV’ed and traveled for years, this is the worst but the best family trip we’ve been on. It’s been a journey for sure that I don’t know how to explain, but we feel loved and honored, and I think for Tom, this is one more tribute to his life."

The Barnes family is currently staying at the Elliot House and said they’ve been provided with an outpouring of support. Hospice in the Pines staff also presented the Barnes family with a customized blanket with their family pictures included.

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