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Cowley County man honors memory of parents lost to COVID-19 as he and his wife get first vaccine

By Alexis Padilla, KSN, original article link

A day months in the making. On Thursday morning, a Kansas couple finally got their COVID-19 vaccine. They took their reason “why” to their appointment.

“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing for me because I was ready for it so I can be with them,” Kris Hotchkin reminisced about his deceased parents.

Hotchkin lost his parents, Darrell and Phyllis Hotchkin, to the virus in late December.

“They were not only my mom and dad but my best friends,” Kris said.

Darrell and Phyllis passed away just two weeks before their vaccine dates.

“(Mom) was looking so forward to this vaccine so we could all be together, and so she could get her hugs and kisses that she was loved so much,” Kris recalled.

While his parents did not make it, Kris and his wife Arlene made sure they did not miss the moment. The couple held photos of Darrell and Phyllis as they got their first dose.

“A lot of encouragement for people to did it. To go out there and get the shot to protect their loved ones,” said Arlene Hotchkin.

Unlike many seniors who passed away alone during the pandemic, Phyllis and Darrell had family members working in their senior center including their daughter and granddaughter.

Their daughter, Terresa Stewart, was by her mom’s side when she passed. Her dad passed away nine days later.

“I got diagnosed with COVID, so I was quarantined. I wasn’t there when we lost dad, and ultimately, because of COVID, I wasn’t even able to go to their funerals,” Stewart said as she choked up.

Darrell and Phyllis were together for 57 years when they passed away. Their family members are now getting vaccinated in their honor and encouraging people to do their part in fighting the pandemic.

“As a health care worker and as a granddaughter losing both of her loved ones within nine days of each other, I would ask people to take this seriously,” said Lynnda Pappan.

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