How The Pandemic Changed Our Lives - 3/21/21 - Segment 1
BROOKE KATZ: Hello, I'm Brooke Katz. Thank you for joining us. This is "To the Point." For the next half-hour, we are taking a look at the impact COVID-19 has had on life here in North Texas because it was one year ago around this time that life seemingly changed overnight.
Many of the things that were a matter of routine or that we took for granted just suddenly were not there. Ken Molestina takes a look back at what life looked like out and about this same time last year.
KEN MOLESTINA: By the time March of 2020 rolled around, there was no denying we were bracing for something we hadn't seen in modern times.
BILL MARRIN: The first time I've seen this in my lifetime.
KEN MOLESTINA: Quarantines and lockdown orders were coming, and that forced a shortage of essential goods. Who can forget seeing bare shelves at the stores, little to no toilet paper? Food supplies were quickly dwindling, especially non-perishables--
BILL MARRIN: Everything's gone.
KEN MOLESTINA: --as people bought and packed whatever they could to ride out what was coming ahead. The run on food and toilet paper would extend to cleaning products and, of course, hand sanitizers. Local distilleries tried helping any way they could, and they began making sanitizers themselves to fill the void.
Then there were reports of PPE shortages even for the health-care workers who needed it most. One local company in Dallas began 3D-printing reusable respirators. Most anyone who could retool their manufacturing of personal protective equipment was doing so.
- I just have never seen the community in need as much as they are now.
KEN MOLESTINA: While many things were in short supply, one thing Texans proved to have an abundance of was love for their neighbor. We saw how churches and neighborhoods rose to the call to help feed those most vulnerable.
At the same time, unemployment rates were skyrocketing in March of 2020. That's when we saw the amount of people who were out of work more than double in the months before the pandemic. Here at CBS 11, we began our segment, Now Hiring--
All right, folks. If you need any information on any of the jobs--
--just to help people find jobs. With fewer people on the roads and out of work, gas prices would also drop to record lows. Many things have improved a year later, but a sense of normalcy is still fleeting. Ken Molestina, CBS 11 News.
BROOKE KATZ: And over the last year, North Texas families have experienced the pain and heartache of losing a loved one to the virus. We want to spend some time taking a closer look at some of those North Texans with our Doug Dunbar.
DOUG DUNBAR: March of 2020, Orlando McDaniel was a dedicated husband and father, a track coach revered by athletes all across North Texas. Before the month would end, McDaniel became one of the first North Texans to be lost to COVID.
Three months later, Rachel Mata Pacheco was taken to the hospital by her husband Carlos. Days later, he was sick, too. By late July, the love story for Rachel and Carlos came to a close at different hospitals, within three hours of each other.
James Beckers was beloved by his kindergartners at Cochran Elementary.
- He was the best teacher I ever had.
DOUG DUNBAR: Mr. Beckers taught kids for over 20 years and is said to have loved his students nearly as much as his own two daughters. In Denton County, they mourned the loss of Chief Deputy Constable Wayne Rhodes, a husband, a father, a grandfather, who always told others to strive to be the best you can be in everything you do in life.
Decatur said goodbye to County Judge Melton Cude, who was in his ninth term of service to Wise County. The loss of 17-year-old Jameela Barber hit hard at Lancaster High School. Jameela is remembered as an exceptional student who would capture you instantly with that smile.
- It is devastating and heartbreaking, and it is a tremendous loss for the Lancaster High School family.
DOUG DUNBAR: Joseph Quillen Jr. spent 19 years as a detention officer in Collin County, but he spent a lifetime as a loving husband, father, and a true friend. Grand Prairie's mayor pro tem Jim Swafford spent a lifetime in service to his community.
Alex Arango was married, had two daughters, two grandkids and great grandkids. The Everman police officer protected his community for 27 years.
And Officer Tracy Gaines protected the kids at Rockwall High School as their resource officer. He is said to have always had a smile and a wave and time for those who needed it. Wade Sanders-- he was a husband, a father, a son who Nick and Linda Sanders were so very proud of.
LINDA SANDERS: He was such a family guy. We know, because he used to say it all the time to us, it's such a beautiful gift to be a father. I pray that I can be half the father my dad was to make.
DOUG DUNBAR: For 51 years, Louis Ayala cut hair in this very shop on North Main Street in Fort Worth. 75 years a barber, his family says he never met a stranger-- loved people and loved life. And JJ Boatman barely got the chance to even begin his life. Days after he celebrated his ninth birthday, the king of giving hugs, who was a brother, a cousin, became one of the youngest victims.
GABRIEL AYALA: He was a loving, caring little boy. Like every time he would see you or see any family member, he would run up and hug you.
DOUG DUNBAR: At just 44 years old, Jeremy Morgan grew up in Waxahachie, played on their 1992 championship football team, became a husband, a father, and was living out his dream of coaching football. Only four years older, Dallas Sergeant Bronc McCoy is said to have been living out his dream of serving behind the badge. And after representing Texas and Washington, Ron Wright became the first sitting member of Congress to die after contracting COVID.
And the loss of Bill Mack hit hard for over-the-road truckers. For years, the Midnight Cowboy, as he was called, was the one voice they could always count on on their radios late at night. In many of those same years, Dallas firefighter Michael Doherty was dedicated to helping others in his job. He and wife Susan had just celebrated 40 years of marriage.
- He was a great papa and a fierce protector of his family.
DOUG DUNBAR: But for the wife of Dallas native Billy Laredo, who lost his fight against COVID in November, it is the letter that he wrote to her that will forever help fill a broken heart.
- "If I don't make it, I want you to know that I lived a happy, wonderful life with you and would never have traded it for all the riches in the world."
DOUG DUNBAR: We remember them one. We remember them all. I'm Doug Dunbar, CBS 11 News.
BROOKE KATZ: And from some of the faces of COVID to the virus itself, what we have learned medically in the last year since COVID-19 and the coronavirus became household words. And we go to the front line of the fight against COVID and one of the nurse's perspective of dealing with the unknown and the heartbreak that the virus has caused. That's next on "To the Point."