NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Gifts come in all shapes and sizes, but like all things in 2020, it looks a little different in the Darrett house. It’s a Christmas miracle the family will never forget.
“I was having a fever every night, for like 4 to 5 nights in a row,” explained Felicia Darrett, remembering the night that would forever change her family’s life.
Her mother had passed away right before Felicia tested positive for COVID-19. It was a secret kept away from her 3 children.
“I knew the death of my mom and hearing about the coronavirus and people dying, and then for their mom to have coronavirus, I just thought that was too much for them to bear,” explained Felicia.
Although she recovered, that’s not where this family’s story ends.
Felicia’s husband, Charles, calls home every day. The calls are a welcome joy after Charles was forced to quit his job, when his wife had to be quarantined, while also caring for three children.
“That’s when it became strenuous, that’s when it became rough because we were doing fine, and when the reality set in, ‘hey, our savings are down to two months-worth of savings,'” said Charles, a Veteran.
Both Charles and Felicia were left without a job. In the beginning, everything worked out, the family was able to use savings to continue paying bills until the money ran out.
An angel came to their rescue in the form of “Operation Stand Down.” The non-profit stepping in to pay all of the families past due bills, helping them to stay afloat.
The organization works as the last line of defense for veterans in need of help, and this year, they say more people are in need.
“People who probably wouldn’t have sought our crisis intervention services because they didn’t need it, have now faced, maybe they’ve had a COVID illness or they’ve lost a job,” explained Eden Murrie, CEO of Operation Stand Down Tennessee.
However, hope is on the horizon. The Tennesse Valley Healthcare System is one of 113 VA Medical Centers to receive the Moderna vaccine. Its progress those in Metro Nashville believe is vital for Veterans in the state.
The goal is to offer vaccinations to all Veterans and employees who want it, when available, but there is a worry some veterans may have a hard time asking for help.
“Something that makes Veterans unique is they don’t like to ask for help and sometimes it’s really hard to encourage them to come and ask,” explained Murrie.
As the number of coronavirus deaths nationwide surpass 300,000 the VA Medical Center accounts for more than 6,000 deaths. Now, with the second COVID vaccine in hand, many are happy to see Veterans as a priority.
“I think it’s great and it shows the nations commitment to veterans and their service and what they’ve done, and so that’s awesome, ” said Murrie, “We do have at-risk veteran populations that will be part of the vaccine earlier on than others.”