The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

January 24, 2014

Friends raise funds for member of Neosho Board of Education; 34-year-old man fighting H1N1 flu

NEOSHO, Mo. — A group of friends have banded together to raise financial support for a Neosho man who is fighting the deadly H1N1 flu strain.

Jonathan Russell, 34, is currently recovering from the flu and subsequent complications at a St. Louis hospital. Russell, who works in sales for a construction company, was elected last year to the Neosho Board of Education and has been involved with Bright Futures Neosho.

Russell was diagnosed with the H1N1 strain of flu and was admitted in early December to a local hospital, where he was quickly transferred to the intensive care unit. He also developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, a potentially life-threatening illness that can occur in the lungs of individuals who are already battling a major disease.

He was eventually flown from Joplin to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he remains today, for more specialized care. His treatments there have included surgery and the use of a machine that supports his heart and lungs as well as a ventilator.

“It is really scary,” said Jake Heisten, a friend of Russell since they were students at Missouri Southern State University. “He got sick, thought he had a respiratory infection, and one thing led to another. The way it was told to me was his body just didn’t know how to fight the infection, and he’s just had a real rough time of it.”

Russell’s friends are spearheading efforts to raise $20,000 for his family through the online fundraising platform YouCaring. The fundraiser, which had drawn more than $8,900 in support as of Friday afternoon, was originally set to expire today but is expected to be extended for at least another week, organizers said.

Proceeds will help pay for Russell’s medical expenses, as well as travel and personal expenses that have resulted from his family’s frequent trips to St. Louis to visit him in the hospital, Heisten said.

“This is going to be, in my opinion, a long-term deal,” he said of Russell’s recovery. “He’s still making progress, but he has a long way to go.”

Russell’s mother, Shirley, took to her “Prayers for Jonathan” Facebook page on Friday to thank supporters and provide an update on her son’s condition. She wrote early Friday morning that he was responding to his doctors as best he could in his weak state, but by the afternoon, she said he was running a high fever and was be given a CT scan.

A majority of states are now reporting widespread levels of flu activity. Health officials told the Globe earlier this month that many of the illnesses could be traced to the H1N1 strain, sometimes called swine flu. That strain was responsible for a widespread outbreak in the United States in 2009-10.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the H1N1 strain has been the predominant strain of flu this season. Of the 3,745 influenza-associated hospitalizations reported across the country so far this season, 61 percent have been in people 18 to 64 years old — an uncommon pattern that was also seen during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, according to data from the CDC.

Sean Grove, another Russell friend from Missouri Southern, said friends and family were shocked that the flu has had such a strong, swift impact on Russell.

“Obviously, this year in particular has been very tough on otherwise healthy people when it comes to H1N1,” he said. “It’s been a little surreal, a little overwhelming, but he’s showing good signs of improvement, from what I can tell.”


To donate to the family of Jonathan Russell, who is recovering from complications related to the H1N1 flu, you may go to

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • 3M plant expansion to create 22 jobs

    An $18.7 million expansion at the 3M Co. manufacturing plant in Nevada will create 22 new jobs, a company official said Wednesday. “We started 43 years ago as a small manufacturer,” said Todd Cantrell, plant manager, in a meeting with employees. “We are now the largest 3M plant in the state of Missouri and one of the largest of all 3M plants.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 23, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

  • NEO_Big_Event - Bright.jpg NEO students step up for Big Event

    Leann Hartman has a 30-foot ditch filled with leaves that she has to clean out every spring. For the retired schoolteacher, this usually means paying a company to clean it for her, only to have to do it again the following year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Wednesday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 22, 2014

  • r042214earthday.jpg Local group launches clean air plan on Earth Day

    It was an Earth Day first for Stephany Aquinaga, a pre-med student and member of the biology club at Missouri Southern State University. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree,” she said.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho teachers express support for Common Core State Standards

    Neosho teachers on Monday voiced their full support for Common Core State Standards. They made their statements to board members during the Neosho Board of Education meeting as an agenda item.

    April 22, 2014