FORT GRATIOT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man decided to get a job at his wife’s nursing home after he was unable to visit her because facilities restricted in-person visits due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The couple, Larry and Carol Burnett, were reunited for the first time in months, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported. Carol Burnett, 80, is a resident at Regency-on-the-Lake in Fort Gratiot, and Larry Burnett, 83, now works there in the activities department.
When he visited his wife a few weeks ago, they spent most of the time catching up. He even said some tears were shed.
“First, I said I was afraid I’d never see her again because of the virus,” Larry Burnett said of their reunion. “She said she agreed with that, she had the feeling that we’d never see each other again that one of us, one of the other, would have passed away.”
He would see her through her room’s window and even tried video calls, but it wasn’t enough. He said they have been married 62 years and haven’t been apart for more than a week.
During a recent outdoor event, Carol Burnett said it had been “wonderful” to see her husband in-person again.
She has lived at the nursing home for about two years. Her husband would visit her 12 hours every day and even occasionally volunteered there.
“I was pretty familiar with the facility and who does what and what all is done and how it’s done,” Larry Burnett said. “So it was just like stepping back into the volunteer job.”
He must pass temperature tests and answer questions regarding symptoms or possible contacts with COVID-19 before each 8-hour shift. During those shifts, which are usually Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he gets to see Carol for about an hour and a half.
Sandra Ball, the nursing homes’ activity director, said Larry was hired because of his previous experience volunteering.
“He was our volunteer of the year last year,” Ball said. “Before he got hired here, he was here every day from morning to night.”