After a year of waiting and waving through the windows, a much-anticipated day finally arrived. KDKA's Meghan Schiller has more.
DON MARCHIONE: Probably a long time.
HELEN MARCHIONE: Oh, a long time.
DON MARCHIONE: Long time.
HELEN MARCHIONE: And here he is now, and I'm making up for lost time.
DON MARCHIONE: Oh, you're all excited, calm down here.
KYM GABLE: After a year of waiting and waving through the windows, it is finally here-- joyful and tearful reunions filling the front lobby at one North Hills personal care home. Meghan Schiller spoke to some residents about what they missed most this past year, new at 6:30.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: From the brightly colored balloons, to the handwritten sign by the staff, there's nothing but happiness and positivity here in this lobby. And the residents I talked to say they're really looking forward to the little things the most.
The wait felt like forever--
- All right, give him a hug.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: --but it made this hug so much sweeter.
HELEN MARCHIONE: Oh.
DON MARCHIONE: You're all excited, calm down here.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Helen Marchione can finally see her son, Don.
HELEN MARCHIONE: Three sons.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: He's your favorite?
HELEN MARCHIONE: He's my oldest one.
DON MARCHIONE: [LAUGHS] Oh, you thought she was slipping, huh?
You answered it right.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Helen is one of 46 residents who relied solely this past year on the staff at The Haven at North Hills.
HELEN MARCHIONE: When you're helpless and you can't do for yourself, and someone is kind to you, it means twice as much. That's the way I feel. When someone takes my hand and leads me, (TEARFULLY) you don't know how much that means.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Down the hall, another reunion.
LOIS LONG: I can't see your face.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Lois Long moved in at the height of the pandemic.
LOIS LONG: Very hard not knowing, you know. And I didn't know a soul in here.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Daughter Cathy Mann would pull up outside the window and wave.
CATHY MANN: I talk to her every day two or three times anyway. It's just the physical contact, not being able to go over, how are you doing, what's going on.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Today begins something new.
CATHY MANN: Is there ever going to be a normal? But I think it's going to go back to people being able to see each other.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: And squeeze each other, finding joy in the little things.
LOIS LONG: And I'm looking forward to the day that I can go shopping.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: Any store you going to hit up?
LOIS LONG: Aldis. [CHUCKLES] Get some of my favorite cookies at Aldis.
MEGHAN SCHILLER: I hope Lois gets her cookies soon, and that fresh air she was talking about all day today. Everyone inside this facility is fully vaccinated, but they do require all visitors to still wear their mask. They have temperature checks and hand sanitizer. They say this is a big step forward, but it is not time to let their guard down. Reporting inside The haven at North HIlls, Meghan Schiller, KDKA News.