By Joel Hall
Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox returned to work this week after five weeks spent recuperating at home following quadruple, heart, bypass surgery.
On Monday, Maddox resumed his full-time duties as mayor, taking over from Mayor Pro Tempore and Councilman, Rick Yonce, who had carried on the work in the mayor's absence.
Having lost a few pounds, and with a new lease on life, Maddox said he was ready to get back to work. "It's kind of boring [recuperating at home], but you do what you have to do," he said on Thursday.
"I have a wife who is a saint" he said. "She really took good care of me. I love Jonesboro and I do the best I can everyday. I have some things I need to get done, and I need to get started on them."
Jo Maddox, the mayor's wife of 17 years, said while the mayor has had to drastically change his eating and exercise habits, he is "more himself" since returning to work at Jonesboro City Hall.
"He seems happier to be back in the swing of things," she said. "Of course, the surgery slowed him down a lot. He did have to change his diet habits. He has to cut way down on the salt. He can go to Butch's, he just has to watch what he eats.
"He's lost about 24 pounds, and I think he'll lose more when he starts getting more exercise," she said. "He has to start rehab next week, and that will be three times a week. He has had diabetes for about eight years. It's been doing real well since the surgery."
Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 10, the mayor was in Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, and following surgery, spent an additional five weeks recuperating at home. During that time, Yonce handled the day-to-day duties of the mayor's office.
A fellow diabetic, Yonce said he believes the mayor is taking the necessary steps to stay in good health. "He is on a little more ridged diet," said Yonce. "I am a diabetic, so I know how hard it is. He can have eggs three times a week and red meat one time a week. You can tell when you see him that he's lost some weight."
Yonce said that slowly, but surely, the mayor is getting back into his routine.
"He was coming back, from time to time, for the last couple weeks," he said. "He likes to go to the county commission meetings, and I'm sure he'll get back to that. I hope he continues on the road to recovery."
Maddox said support from the community helped him through his recovery. Since his heart surgery, he said he has received "between 75 and 100 cards" from concerned locals.
"We had a lot of prayers and well wishes," he said. "I had an outpouring of cards, letters, and fruit baskets. It makes you feel good to know that you are that well-thought-of."