Jonathan Barton said it feels good to be back at work.
Barton, now an acting lieutenant for Hall County Fire Services, returned to work Tuesday after suffering a heart attack while training a group of recruits in February.
A video posted to the Hall County Fire Services Facebook page showed Barton returning to the station amid cheers from his co-workers and lit fire trucks in the background.
Barton said it was quite the welcoming ceremony.
“For me, I was just kinda hoping that it would be just a normal day but if course the guys here wouldn’t let that happen,” said Barton. “It was a little bit overwhelming, but coming back to that was a little bit of a relief, knowing that the comradery is still here.”
Following his health scare in February, Barton was transported by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, where he underwent a heart cauterization and had a stent placed in his heart. A pump was also placed inside to help his heart function properly.
Barton said that he remembers nothing about the incident and was sedated for the first few days during his stay at the hospital. Despite the seriousness of his condition, Barton was released after two weeks.
Once he was able to return home, Barton said that it was a matter of returning to some semblance of a routine, which included eating normally while adjusting to new medication.
Barton said he also had to battle a few issues with his kidneys and underwent dialysis.
“I wasn’t able to eat anything, wasn’t able to keep anything down that I did eat, I was losing over a pound a day there for the first several weeks,” said Barton. “But once we got that all under control and figured it all out, it went well.”
Through all of 133 days of recovery, Barton said that his fellow firefighters and members of the community surrounded he and his family to help in any way they could.
Barton said his co-workers at fire services constantly came by the hospital to check on him and his wife, who never left the hospital as long as he was there.
“There was never a day that there wasn’t at least somebody there, most of the time they would have an in-service truck there to get anything that my wife needed or do anything that we needed as a family,” said Barton.
Barton then said the same support continued once he was discharged and at home recovering, with someone stopping by nearly every day to offer help with yard work or any other physical tasks.
“I’ve got some really, really good friends that are more than just friends at this point, they’re family,” said Barton. “It’s a relief to know that no matter what happens those guys are gonna be there.”
Barton also said that local elected officials and Hall County employees stopped by or called during his recovery.
In the meantime, Barton said that he was cleared to return to work on Tuesday with no restrictions and has recovered to the point that he can exercise just as much as he did prior to his heart attack.
With that said, he feels more than ready to get back into his routine and continue his passion of being a firefighter.
“Just the routine of going to work every third day and being around the guys here, knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and what I’ve always felt that I’ve been led to do,” said Barton.