Centralia Fireside Guard

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A Centralia birthday in the time of COVID

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 3:13 pm

Editor’s note: According to the Audrain County Health Department 1,235 people have had COVID-19, 1,024 have recovered from it and it has killed 28 in Audrain County, as of December 14. In Boone County, 12,050 have had COVID-19. There are 916 active cases, 11,096 have recovered from it and it has killed 38 in Boone County. According to the Boone County Health and Senior Services Department of those cases 446 are in Centralia’s zip code and 366 within the geographical borders of the Centralia School District. Those numbers on a government web site represent people. 

This is an article about one of them.

Liam Dollens, right, wishes his grandfather Cletus Jones a happy birthday

Though most are gone, there were times when many remembered a then-lanky, irreverent, ex-iron-worker, ex liquor store owner named Cletus Jones who walked all over Centralia soliciting donations for what became the Centralia Senior Center.

Also, known for his fearless sense of humor, age has slowed Jones down.

Another weight he carries is COPD, but that is not what has him spending most of his days sitting in a chair, breathing through an oxygen concentrator.

Cletus caught, and has “recovered,” from COVID-19.

Unlike 4,514 of the pandemic’s Missouri victims, Jones is still alive, and Sunday celebrated his 82nd birthday with his wife Bonnie, sitting at his living-room window, watching as a 25-vehicle motorcade circled their block twice to wish him a happy birthday.

For the complete article, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard