The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

January 28, 2013

Family of comatose Decatur man using humor to cope


Justin's family sent Kellogg's a picture of Justin with a Pop-Tart and an email explaining his situation to the company. Kellogg's responded with well-wishes and the promise of a care package with Pop-Tart-themed gifts and coupons.

Stan Fields, the service director at Hiley, said he was at work the day of Justin's accident. He said the hospital called Sandra Smith in the customer service department, who then called Samantha. Fields rushed to his car and drove to the hospital. He called Justin's brother, Jared Hudson, on the way. He arrived before anyone else.

"I was the only one there for a few minutes," Fields said. "Then Sam showed up, and we just had to stand around talking and waiting for news about Justin."

Justin Hudson worked for Fields part time during his senior year at Brewer High School. He was hired full time after graduating and worked for about two years, then left for a few years to work for Eddie Preuitt Ford in Hartselle. He eventually returned and has worked at Hiley since.

Jeff Kenney was Hudson's mentor while he was training to become a licensed mechanic. He said Hudson has a love for Volkswagens: He has a "VW" tattoo on his arm and about eight Volkswagen vehicles in front of his house. He was driving a 1998 Jetta on the day of the accident.

He also describes Justin as the office joker.

"He likes to take his shirt off for no reason," he said. "He's kind of a country boy. Last year, he took a machete and cut a bunch of little trees down to make a clubhouse in the woods behind the dealership."

Many Hiley employees are opting to donate money from their paychecks into an account for the Hudsons. Kenney also takes up collections every week and delivers a wad of cash to Samantha every Friday when he visits the hospital.

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