Couple reflect on surviving polio and COVID as their assisted living facility receives vaccine

Published: Jan. 23, 2021 at 6:56 PM CST
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ALEDO, IL (KWQC) - The first round of COVID vaccines arrived this weekend at Brookstone of Aledo, an assisted living facility.

“They are just super excited they have missed their family members and we are hoping that this will put a light at the end of the tunnel so that we can start allowing some visitors to come in,” says Chris DeFrieze, Executive Director at Brookstone.

Almost all staff and 64 of the 68 residents chose to be immunized. Two of those residents were Jim and Luella Doonan, a married couple who say they’re excited.

“To get this mess over so we can start living again you know because we’re pretty well confined with it now so we want life back to normal,” says Jim Doonan.

This isn’t the first time they have been through something like this. Polio struck their community in the 1940′s and 50′s.

“Polio was a lot more frightening to us as a family. We had two neighbor children that died from it and the rest of the family had it and were crippled by it. Polio was, you just couldn’t do anything. You were helpless. There was just nothing but prayer until the vaccine came,” says Jim.

The polio vaccine didn’t come for years. The Doonan’s say getting the COVID vaccine in just months is nothing short of a miracle.

Doonan says, “It’s been chaos it seems like this last year. But it will get better. Next year’s going to be better. It always has, for ninety years, next year has always been better.”

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