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Land and Maritime family battles, defeats COVID-19 virus

By Michael Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime associates and brothers Kyle and Marc Danneberger know firsthand the effects of COVID-19.

The brothers along with their mother Sallie have supported their father Karl through a recent coronavirus infection that saw him hospitalized and on a ventilator.

The family remained unwavering as he fought back to make a full recovery after a month-long hospital stay. The family had been diligently practicing social distancing and other preventive measures right up until the time their father became ill.

“Our traumatic experience began March 16 with my dad having breathing issues while at their Dublin, Ohio home, so we got his doctor on the phone and he recommended we immediately take our dad to the emergency room,” said Marc, an acquisition specialist with Maritime Supplier Operations. “None of us really thought it was the COVID-19 virus.”

When the family arrived at the ER their father was in pretty bad shape. The ER staff promptly put him on a ventilator and two days later he tested positive for the virus. He remained on the ventilator for more than two weeks.

None of the hospitals were allowing public visits of patients who were being treated for COVID-19, so the brothers couldn’t see their dad during his care. “We were all experiencing separation anxiety and the infectious disease physician explained to our mom that their house was probably contaminated too, so we all went into quarantine and restricted our visits to see her,” Marc said.

With the brothers physically separated from both their parents, their mother spent about 30 days in isolation. Kyle and Marc said it was a pretty scary time for all of them.

“To help keep our spirits up we Face-timed and talked on the phone a lot, but the separation made it more difficult to be together and provide that important physical support,” said Kyle, a contract specialist with the Office of Small Business Programs. “You don’t think about those little things you take for granted until you’re working through a circumstance like this.”

The brothers would wait for the hospital to call their mom with twice daily updates and relay those updates through return calls.

“We hadn’t seen our parents for a while and the illness was effecting our entire family,” Marc said.  “We knew the hospital was busy with the constant treatment requirements of patients and sometimes the calls would be late in the evening; those evening calls created even more anxiety.  All we could do was pray and wait for the morning and evening calls from the hospital.”

As their father’s projected recovery timeline was repeatedly extended, the added social distancing challenge with their mother made it more demanding to handle the constantly changing health picture.

“We wanted to stay strong for our mom, so we made extra effort to talk with her a lot,” both Kyle and Marc said. “We tried to stay away from some of the conflicting messaging that was flooding the news to help us maintain a positive outlook and just trust the doctors to do the best job they could.”

The brothers agreed that experiencing the coronavirus’ attack first-hand helped them both realize the seriousness of the potential spread and sickness this virus posed.

Kyle and Marc encouraged others to support the health practices approved by the nation’s medical specialists while they’re dealing with the possibility of contracting the virus. They also advocated the practice of facemask wearing to help provide additional protection.  

“We’re technically done with quarantine, but we try to stay cautious when we visit our parent’s house now,” Kyle said. “We talk to them from opposite sides of the driveway and continue to comply with the social distancing guidelines and always wear masks and gloves.”

The Danneberger family expressed great satisfaction that their father recovered from the COVID-19 illness and are extremely thankful to everyone who supported them during this experience.

“We’ve gained a whole new appreciation for having our dad around when you think about how many families have been devastated by the toll of the coronavirus,” Kyle said. “It can happen so fast that it’s hard to keep up emotionally, but there is hope for recovery.”