For the McClure family, 2019 began as a year to forget. Now, it’s one Chuck, Bridgette, Morgan and Miya will always remember.

Friday supplied another highlight. The McClures spent the afternoon in Lexington.

While the outcome of the Class A football state finals wasn’t what they desired, the Paintsville family cherished every moment at Kroger Field.

“We don’t take any time for granted,” Bridgette McClure said.

Chuck McClure served as the principal of Paintsville High School, which also includes middle school students, from 2008 until Jan. 3, 2019.

McClure had combatted nausea for a few days. At his wife’s urging, he went to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center’s emergency room. Next thing he knew, he was on a helicopter flight to King’s Daughters.

“I was in septic shock,” McClure said.

McClure, who turned 56 on July 1, had suffered a heart attack and multi-organ failure as a result of sepsis. Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to infection-fighting chemicals is out of balance.

“It didn’t look good at first,” McClure said.

On the morning of Jan. 7, a Monday, he went into cardiac arrest and coded.

“It was touch and go,” added Bridgette, a Paintsville Elementary second-grade teacher. “The doctors were very up front with me. They didn’t give us much hope when he coded.”

Doctors put McClure on dialysis, conducted a tracheotomy and installed a feeding tube.

“It was hard, but we had to give him every chance to pull through,” said Bridgette, who never left his side throughout his 31-day stint in KDMC’s intensive care unit.

By Feb. 1, McClure took a turn for the better, Bridgette remembered. Johnson Central played at Paintsville in boys basketball that night, and administrators had asked Bridgette to come and address the crowd regarding Chuck’s status.

“We decided to make a video to send it,” Bridgette said. “And he just made strides all day that day. He shouldn’t have been able to eat, talk ... but he was.”

Between his stays at the hospital and rehabilitation centers, Chuck McClure wasn’t home for 55 days.

At that point, “I just felt very blessed to be alive,” Chuck said.

Another reason to fondly recall 2019 occurred upon Chuck’s arrival home. Chuck and Bridgette’s adoption of 6-year-old daughter Miya went final.

Rehabilitation road was a hard one to navigate, especially at first, he said. He still goes to rehab twice a week.

On Friday, his beloved Tigers charged out onto the University of Kentucky’s turf with a mission in mind. While they fell well short against Pikeville, they were in the state championship game for the first time since 1985.

McClure missed just one game of Paintsville’s memorable 11-4 season.

On Friday, the Paintsville administration issued him a sideline pass. Bridgette and Miya sat in Section 25, Row 13. Morgan, a 17-year-old junior, was on the sideline as a Paintsville cheerleader.

“I still stay connected with everybody at school,” Chuck McClure said. “I’m usually there dropping lunch off or whatever, still see everybody a lot. I’m on the site-based council. Everybody’s been very good to me throughout the whole recovery process.”

McClure’s Twitter description adequately summarizes his roller-coaster ride: “I’m living proof that God still performs miracles.”

Added McClure: “I couldn’t have done this without my wife. She’s my biggest cheerleader and encourages me when I need it.”

McClure is a graduate of Johnson Central. He worked for Meade Memorial Elementary for 17 years before landing an administrative position at Paintsville.

The McClures planned to stick around for today’s Class 4A finals featuring his alma mater and Boyle County. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m.

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