On the night he died, Russell Frost and his family had hope another surgery might save him.
Frost, a private contractor in the Middle East who was kidnapped and held hostage in Iraq for 31 days last year, died Thursday from health complications stemming from the incident. He was 49.
The family plans a private memorial service.
Mr. Frost was born Aug. 13, 1968 in Wichita. He grew up with an innate ability to fix anything mechanical. If he couldn’t fix it, he “used elbow grease and duct tape,” his daughter Amanda Frost said.
He was a 1986 graduate of Wichita South High School. He had worked a variety of jobs since the age of 14.
“He was a go-getter and was always able to provide for himself and family,” Frost said. “When he wasn’t working, he never knew what to do with himself. He had a strong work ethic that would put people to shame half his age. He was proud of his work.”
He was a mechanic. And more.
Mr. Frost had worked in the Middle East for more than a decade as a military contractor.
He was kidnapped with two co-workers on Jan. 15, 2016.
He lost more than 40 pounds in captivity because of dehydration and malnutrition.
His hands were tied together with several zip-ties, which cut off circulation to his hands and dug into his wrists until they bled. His captors shoved a rag over his eyes and face and wrapped packing tape so tightly around his nose that he had to gasp for each breath. The zip-ties around his hands were eventually replaced with heavy chains.
He was released on Feb. 16, after 31 days as a hostage.
On Feb. 22, when Mr. Frost arrived back home, his family could tell things had changed.
“He was battling kidney issues,” Amanda Frost said. “It was one battle after another. He had multiple surgeries but — his insurance — he wasn’t given enough and his kidneys appeared to be failing on him.
“It was hard as his family to watch someone who was so full of life go to someone who could barely move and was in so much pain and swelling.”
There would be many doctor visits and sleepless nights following his release.
He suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. For a while back in Wichita, he would sleep on the floor during the day, in the corner, where he could see everyone in the family. He would not sleep without a light on.
“The trauma he had suffered so very much affected his life,” Amanda Frost said. “He tried to put a stone face on for his girls so we could see the dad we had all known and loved. He didn’t want us to see him in any way weak. His focus was on getting back to everything the way it was before this all happened.”
Mr. Frost is survived by his wife, Tammie; daughters, Amanda (Jeff Thompson) Frost, Crystal Frost, and Madison Frost; grandson, Brixton Thompson; mother, Rosanne Cox; brothers, Mark (Diane), Brian (Tara), and Rick Frost; sisters, Suzanne Jamerson and Geneva (Dave) Hughes; brother-in-law, Chris McGrew (Brynn); and father and mother-in-law, Larry and Brenda Dudley.
If you’d like to help
Russell Frost’s family has set up a gofundme site to help pay for funeral expenses. You can find it at https://www.gofundme.com/asu2rn-help-with-funeral-expenses-for-dad.