Community welcomes home 71-year-old following 33 day fight against COVID-19

Community welcomes home man following 33 day fight against COVID-19

FOREST PARK, Ohio (FOX19) - Roughly 100 cars lined up in a parade to welcome home Bud Johnson. He said he doesn’t know how he got the coronavirus.

It’s been a long journey for Johnson to get to Saturday.

As cars rolled by to welcome him home, he reflected on the 33 days he spent in the hospital.

“One day I’m well, the next day I was sick," Johnson said.

It was just days after his 71st birthday when he was diagnosed.

“The next thing I look at they’re telling me I’m getting ready to die,” Johnson said.

That’s when his resiliency kicked in.

“I can’t die now. I just had a birthday,” Johnson said.

He was put on a ventilator and was put into a medically induced coma for 10 days.

“They saved my life,” Johnson said.

Saturday was also special for his wife Lola who did not get to visit Bud in the hospital.

“It was very scary for me. I didn’t know what to think. It got to the point where I couldn’t watch the news anymore, because I heard so many people were dying from the exact same thing that he had,” she said.

It’s been three days since Bud was allowed to come home. He tried to call all of his friends and family, but his voice was weakened from being on the ventilator and he couldn’t make all the calls.

Knowing that, his wife planned this surprise welcome home parade.

“Coming home... seeing them its really, really, touching,” Johnson said.

Knowing how close he came to dying, Bud urged everyone in the community to take the coronavirus seriously.

“It happened to me, it could happen to anyone. So I just want everyone to protect themselves. Protect the children and do what you got to do to stay alive,” he said.

Bud was still working when he got sick, but now that’s he better he’s planning on retiring and spending as much time as possible with his family.

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