Kinston Burn Patient Has Strong Will To Live, Says Father
Posted April 16, 2003
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The people of Kinston will never forget Jan. 29-- the day the West Pharmaceuticals plant exploded.
Six people died and many more were severely burned. All those who were injured have recovered enough to leave the hospital, except one.
"Every day is a day of grace that the Lord has given me and with him I've enjoyed them," said Red Edwards of his son, Jim.
Jim Edwards, 46, suffered burns over 60 percent of his body. His father said he can speak and he can feel. He is alert and alive.
"He's a miracle child. It's a miracle he made it here to start with," Red Edwards said. "From the sky camera, you could see right on down into the building, you know. I knew that was approximately the location Jim worked, somewhere very close to that, anyway. I didn't realize it was exactly where he worked."
Medics flew Jim Edwards to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.
"The next day there was nothing about him that looked like my son. I mean his arms, legs, nothing they were so swollen. There was a week and a half when I guess they were scared to do anything except save his life he was so near gone," Red Edwards said.
Jim Edwards' sight is gone and may not come back.
"Obviously, he's got some unfortunate complications that have occurred. He has some obstacles to overcome, but there is no reason why he can't overcome those," said Dr. Michael Peck of the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center.
Edwards said he never questions why this happened to his son.
"No, I really don't. I think we all have a purpose and a destiny," Edwards said. "He's got, I believe at this point, a good, full life left for him."
"Blaming someone -- that's not the answer," Edwards said. "You have to look on the positive side of things. I thank God I've got a son that I can talk to, that I can handle, that I can love."
Jim Edwards will remain at the burn center for several more weeks, then he will most likely move to a rehabilitation center.
When he was younger, Jim Edwards sold jelly to help the Jaycees raise money to build the burn center. Now he is receiving what his father said is "the best care in the world."