Kind volunteer surprises over-80 couple on Marco with vaccines

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Husband and wife Larry and Sandra Croce are both over 80 and live on Marco Island. They were both on the receiving end of good fortune when a stranger helped them book appointments for the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the end of January. Credit: WINK News.

A couple in need was met with a surprise they never expected when a kind stranger stepped up to make their dream come true.

A high risk, over-80 couple had been struggling for weeks to get a coronavirus vaccine appointment, and they were rewarded with the surprise of a lifetime.

Sandra and Larry Croce haven’t seen much beyond the walls of their condo on Marco Island since the pandemic began.

“He thought I was a nut,” Sandra said. “The groceries come in, I wash them.”

The help from a complete stranger is now allowing the two of them feel less alone.

“It really was so kind and such a miracle to have that burden off me,” Sandra said. “They let me into their home. We all wore masks. Larry is at high risk with his health.”

“They claim I don’t have a chance,” Larry said. “If I was a younger person, they would be looking for a new heart. My heart is shot.”

Sandra keeps track of how many times they’ve tried to get the vaccine in her notebook. It’s pretty full.

“I’ve been to I’ve been to,” Sandra said.

Her mission is mainly to protect her husband.

“We’ve been together since we were children,” Sandra said. “He’s my life.”

Her desperate search soon felt hopeless. She posted on non profit Marco Patriots Facebook group page asking for help.

”If I call Lee County, it’s busy,” Sandra said. “If I go online, I wait hours.”

A day later, a woman also part of the Marco Patriots group surprised the Croces with good news.

“She said you have two tickets for the vaccines,” Sandra explained.

“Look at this; you got some shots,” Larry said. “It said, ‘Congratulations.’”

Thanks to the good deed, Marco Patriots is forming a task force to help people who are frustrated or don’t know how to use technology to book vaccine appointments.

The woman who helped wanted to remain anonymous. She was a volunteer, and to the couple, she was an angel.

”Somebody up there likes me,” Larry said.

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