Vets in Aurora long term-care facility begin to get COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 5:01 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 20:13:47-05

Aurora, Colo. — Melvin Menard's family hasn't been able to see him at the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimmons in Aurora much since the pandemic started.

“It’s been very difficult but it’s been more difficult for the veterans,” Menard's daughter, Lila Phillips, said.

“He says, 'I feel like I'm a prisoner, and I said they’re just trying to keep you safe. So this vaccine is going to make it like our Christmas miracle,” Menard’s daughter, Phillips said.

The 88-year-old Korean War veteran was one of the first in line to get his. Well, second actually.

“He goes I’m ready for it. I’m ready for that vaccine. He’s excited about it because, 'I’m ready, I’m ready. They can give me two vaccines if they want,'” Phiilips said.

Just in front of him was 73-year-old Vietnam vet Phil Ross.

“Am I first? I got recruited but totally came for it because it’s a positive thing positive, not like a COVID positive,” Ross said.

Ross doesn't get to see his family much either.

“Not as much as I'd like to, but my wife will be here. She’ll be here in the next five minutes as far as I know,” Ross said.

And when she saw him getting vaccinated?

“I felt goosebumps with my husband getting that vaccine. It’s not like I wanted to cry. It's like i wanted to smile,” Maria Ross said.

This facility lost 25 people to COVID-19 this year. Menard actually had it and made it through, but all here are hoping the vaccine can finally bring them closer together.

“We’re just so happy that maybe in a couple months in probably about two more months and he’ll be able to leave here and not worry about getting sick,” Phillips said.

Just a lot of joy for the families of the veterans there.

Gov. Jared Polis said he hopes to have almost all nursing homes to get their first round of vaccines by mid-January and second dose early February.