IONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — As more Michiganders become fully vaccinated, it’s allowed families to start reuniting, some who haven’t seen each other in an entire year.
An Ionia family that had been split by the COVID-19 pandemic was finally able to reunite last week.
The Hess family hadn’t seen each other in person since last March. When their entire family was fully vaccinated, they decided to surprise their elderly father in a picture-perfect reunion they captured on video.
“Oh, for Gods sakes! What are you doing here?” Dave Hess said to his son Richie in the video.
“Oh, my goodness, I think we got the happiest dad on Earth right now,” could be heard in the video.
The video captures the raw emotion between a father and son embracing each other after a year apart.
“It was a great feeling,” Dave Hess said. “It was so special, and he has so much ability in certain areas.”
Richie Hess’ passion is painting.
“I give paintings to my dad to hang up on his walls at his house,” Richie Hess said. “He likes to watch me do my artwork and paintings, and he likes talking to me and asks me questions about it.”
His dad loves the paintings his son gives him. But he loves the time they spend together even more.
“It’s always been a thrill to me to have a son that was talented in that particular area, and he’s talented in other things too,” Dave Hess said.”
For a year, moments spent together simply didn’t exist if they weren’t on Zoom.
“We’ve had some great times over the years when we’ve been able to be together. This time, it’s been longer than usual,” Richie Hess said. “But I didn’t lose hope. I knew the time would come when I come home again and visit my dad again.”
At the age of 84, Dave knows these moments together need to be cherished, especially after knowing their reunion would not have happened if not for COVID-19 vaccines.
“Even in normal times, the next day is never guaranteed, so you’ve got to be thankful for that too,” Dave Hess said. “I felt glad to get the … first and second dose. I was happy to get them to see my family again.”
So, he and the entire Hess family are thankful for days like this together.
“He’s so damn special,” Dave Hess said. “My son, oh boy”