Advertisement

Florence firefighter gets welcome homecoming after month in hospital

Updated: Mar. 16, 2017 at 6:56 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn
The community welcomes Kevin Darby back from the hospital. (Source: WAFF)
The community welcomes Kevin Darby back from the hospital. (Source: WAFF)
The community welcomes Kevin Darby back from the hospital. (Source: WAFF)
The community welcomes Kevin Darby back from the hospital. (Source: WAFF)

KILLEN, AL (WAFF) - A firefighter in the Shoals got a warm welcome home Thursday after spending nearly a month in a hospital bed.

Florence firefighter Kevin Darby said his visit to the emergency room all started with the flu. He was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 9 with double pneumonia, sepsis, strep and kidney failure. Darby spent a total of 20 days in the ICU and a week in rehab.

He's worked as an engineer for Florence Fire Department for 11 years and is also a head coach for Kraze '06 softball team.

Signs and balloons lined the firefighter's neighborhood as his wife, Kristina, drove to their home in Killen.

"The community, the people, the neighbors and friends and people I haven't seen in years have reached out. It's been unbelievable, but it's been a wild journey, unexpected but glad to be home," Darby said.

Within a few days, Darby went from having the flu to being on a ventilator and having organs shut down. He doesn't remember much of the 29 days in the hospital.

"Just going in sick that day and don't even remember of much going into that night, and I think that's when the complications really got bad," Darby said.

He said he's still reading up on all of the love he got from the community. For the month of February, many people wore T-shirts with the words "Praying like Kraze for Darby."

"A lot of people have been wearing them," said his daughter, Baylee Darby.

His girls and team stood by him along the way and can't wait to have their dad home and their coach out on the field for good.

"I'm very excited, 100 percent," said his daughter, Bella Darby.

"There is so many people out there that care, that you have no idea until something like this happens and you know I'm just another person that got sick," Darby said.

He hopes by telling  his story, it can help someone else.

"Just be persistent. If you think feel bad, you know, don't be macho because I told (Kristina) I could not believe I was calling an ambulance to come get me. That's just not what I do," he said.

Darby will continue to receive physical therapy and dialysis treatment three times a week at home.

He said he was too young to retire and will put in the work to get back to fighting fires.

Copyright 2017 WAFF. All rights reserved.