KINSTON, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina health officials estimate more than 9,000 people have recovered from COVID-19.
Thomas Jones, 58, a U.S. Air Force veteran is now among them.
Jones has suffered two strokes and lives at the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Kinston. Wednesday afternoon the staff surprised Jones with a recovery party.
“It made me cry (it) just touched my heart,” he said.
So many of the staff members wanted to show their support for Jones. But getting here wasn’t easy.
“You must be a fighter,” Jones said the doctor told him.
He tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks ago. He was put in quarantine. Eight days into that he took a took for the worse.
He was taken to the hospital and put on oxygen. Four days after that his condition improved. He was later released.
“I follow instructions. I was in the air force, so I knew how to follow instructions,” he said.
“Always just so positive, every day of his life. And everyone here just loves him so much,” said Bonnie Ard, the nursing home administrator.
Ard said it’s important to celebrate happy endings in this trying time.
“Myself and the staff were just so grateful that he recovered and that we could welcome him back into his home,” she explained.
She came up with the idea for the party but credits her staff for running with it.
“It was amazing because I felt the love…I don’t feel like a patient. I feel like they’re my family,” Jones said.