The community has been getting creative on celebrations and showing support during the COVID days including but not limited to drive by parades. This is the exact type of celebration that Oakdale residents George and Pat Schultz received at the end of May by the Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance and Oakdale Animal Shelter volunteers. The parade of cars is the new way to celebrate loved ones and to show support.
The Schultz’s have been in Oakdale for a few years and have been volunteering at the animal shelter for over a year. The group treated the Schultz’s to a ‘welcome home’ and a show of care and support with a parade of about 10 cars. They drove by with signs, balloons, cheers and horns honking, many bringing their furry friends along for the ride as well.
“Mom wanted to reconnect (with the shelter volunteers) when they got back,” explained daughter Sherri Schultz-Ramos. “Everyone was wondering about George and they all missed him and when he was able to they wanted to take the opportunity to say we care.”
In early February the local couple was involved in a serious auto accident that left them both in critical condition. On their way back from Lake Tahoe a big rig hit black ice and smashed into the driver’s side of their vehicle. They were both air lifted out in separate helicopters to a hospital in Reno. In intensive care for three weeks, George was fighting for his life and Pat was in intensive care for two days. Their daughter Sherri was visiting from Belize and spent some time with her parents in Reno during their recuperation. Then COVID-19 hit and the hospital began limited hours with only one visitor allowed. George was tested for the virus and thankfully he did not have it so he was going to be transported to a rehabilitation facility in Modesto. Pat and Sherri returned to Oakdale awaiting his arrival but his departure was then delayed due to a storm. Finally George made his way to Modesto and there he was tested again for the virus so he was in quarantine and no one was allowed to visit him. They got creative in seeing him by purchasing an Echo and putting it in his room. They also visited him a couple times a week outside his window so he could see them and he knew he was not alone. After again testing negative for the virus and spending time healing George was finally released from the rehabilitation facility and allowed to return to his home.
The shelter volunteers had been following the Schultz’s situation and as soon as George settled in they wanted to lift all their spirits with a small parade. Much to his surprise as he was sitting outside with Sherri and Pat, the cars started driving by. He was so pleased that it brought tears to his eyes.
“He was like, that was so nice to know that people care that much,” said Sherri. “I keep telling both of them that they have done so much for so many people for so many years that you deserve this.”
They also adopted a female poodle mix that is about two years old that they named Georgie Girl but call her GG. She needed a little training and with some patience, she has become part of the family.
“She has welcomed dad into the house,” stated Sherri. “She was terrified and frightened when we picked her up. We needed a dog to interact with dad and we want him to start walking. So he has to learn how to walk again and he needs his brain engaged.”
The couple has been an active part of the community by volunteering at the shelter and helping seniors with their taxes. Although their road to recovery is going to take some time and they have a lot of work ahead of them, they also have the support from the shelter volunteers.
“That was important getting them back together and now getting them to where they are back to being independent is the final goal,” expressed Sherri. “During these times the community made it important to take a ride to lift the spirits of a couple that is still recovering from a terrible accident.”