Six months of coronavirus. Where are we now?

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Six months ago, Ohio came to a halt. Only 36 coronavirus cases were confirmed in the state and no deaths were reported. But Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, seeing the ravages of COVID-19 elsewhere, shut down schools and businesses statewide.

The individual plans and ambitions of hundreds of thousands of Miami Valley residents have since been altered by a global pandemic. Businesses shuttered. School upended. Lives lost.

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The Dayton Daily News asked readers to reflect on how they spent the past half year. What have they sacrificed? What have they accomplished?

“Since the start of the pandemic, I have completed my graduate program in clinical mental health from (the University of Dayton), passed my licensing exam, had a baby and started playing my guitar more,” said Tina Nieport of Dayton.

She couldn’t, however, celebrate these milestones with family and friends.

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A lot of people focused on their health and hobbies.

Bobbye Gorrell is a volunteer tax preparer who worked hard during quarantine to finish more than 200 returns from the Beavercreek Senior Center. She took up cross stitch and works in the yard, but misses going out to eat at The Greene on Sunday nights.

Harry Haberer went on a diet and exercise program and lost 40 pounds since June 1.

“I have a lot more time now that I’m not going out to do things I used to do, so exercise and working on the house and in the yard have been integral to sticking to a weight reduction program,” he said.

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He couldn’t travel to Texas to be at his daughter’s 4th birthday in July, a tradition since she was born.

Being off work gave Emily Junker time to train for and complete a half marathon.

But she and her husband are both professional stage hands in Dayton and aren’t sure their jobs will ever come back. She has been editing manuscripts for grocery money and her husband is doing handyman work. Their fourth grader is going to school online.

Being off work gave Emily Junker time to train for and complete a half marathon.
But she and her husband are both professional stage hands in Dayton and aren’t sure their jobs will ever come back. She has been editing manuscripts for grocery money and her husband is doing handyman work. Her fourth grader is going to school online.
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Being off work gave Emily Junker time to train for and complete a half marathon. But she and her husband are both professional stage hands in Dayton and aren’t sure their jobs will ever come back. She has been editing manuscripts for grocery money and her husband is doing handyman work. Her fourth grader is going to school online.

She is thankful — above all else, and like many others — that her family has avoided the coronavirus.

Marcia McCarty of Springfield is also grateful her family has been spared from the coronavirus, though her grandson — who she has become de facto first grade teacher to — was exposed to it.

“My business shut down for almost three months,” McCarty said. “I have a one-chair barbershop and we reopened on May 15. We were slammed at first, now I’m barely working two days a week. About to close my doors.”

Marcia McCarty of Springfield is also grateful her family was spared the coronavirus, though her grandson — who she has become defacto first grade teacher to — was exposed to it.
“My business shutdown for almost three months,” McCarty said. “I have a one chair barbershop and we reopened on May 15. We were slammed at first, now I’m barely working two days a week. About to close my doors.”
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Marcia McCarty of Springfield is also grateful her family was spared the coronavirus, though her grandson — who she has become defacto first grade teacher to — was exposed to it. “My business shutdown for almost three months,” McCarty said. “I have a one chair barbershop and we reopened on May 15. We were slammed at first, now I’m barely working two days a week. About to close my doors.”

James and Hannah Buechele couldn’t go through with a wedding scheduled for March 21 in Orlando.

“While there was a lot of uncertainty in the world, we knew one thing for sure: We loved each other and we still wanted to celebrate our day. With our family’s blessing, we got married in Eden Park in Cincinnati with just a pastor, a photographer, and a friend who live streamed the wedding for our immediate families,” he said.

“Following the ceremony, we danced around our apartment to our wedding playlist. The big celebration has been rescheduled for March 2021.”

James and Hannah Buechele couldn’t go through with a wedding scheduled for March 21 in Orlando because of coronavirus so had to have  a smaller event in Cincinnati instead.
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James and Hannah Buechele couldn’t go through with a wedding scheduled for March 21 in Orlando because of coronavirus so had to have a smaller event in Cincinnati instead.

Bob Toia, 73, had to cancel his 50th wedding anniversary celebration in August. He learned how to use technology to connect with family and take advantage of meal and grocery delivery. But he couldn’t visit his 97-year-old father in another state.

“We finished our basement this month after putting it off for 30 years,” John Glaser said. “Found we can attend virtual Mass at any time and any day we choose. Even have a selection of Catholic churches.”

He cancelled several vacations, however, and misses seeing some of his children and grandchildren.

“The ones we can (see), it is restricted; hugs are limited, visits are very few,” Glaser said.

Casey Hoofkin took on a new role at work managing Dayton Children’s Hospital’s screeners and screening processes for COVID-19.

Casey Hoofkin took on a new role at work managing Dayton Children’s Hospital’s screeners and screening processes for COVID-19. “It has been a whirlwind, but I have looked at it as an opportunity to pave the way on something that has never been done before,” she said.
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Casey Hoofkin took on a new role at work managing Dayton Children’s Hospital’s screeners and screening processes for COVID-19. “It has been a whirlwind, but I have looked at it as an opportunity to pave the way on something that has never been done before,” she said.

“It has been a whirlwind, but I have looked at it as an opportunity to pave the way on something that has never been done before,” she said.

Dayton attorney Beth Kolotkin “realized that I have good friends who will shop for me and prepare drive-by home cooked meals for me to pick up, (including lamb on Easter) and meet me in the park with carry out,” she said.

She reconnected over text messaging with her brother, who she hasn’t talked to much in years.

She didn’t get to visit her stepfather in New York when he came down with COVID-19 or attend his funeral when he died April 29.

The most profound loss is those who have died — more than 400 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters in this region. But individual stories like these show the Miami Valley grieves together, sacrifices together, seeks the best in the situation and the resolve to come through this together.