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Army Veteran finally returns home after long battle with COVID

Published: Feb. 12, 2022 at 6:19 PM CST
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - A Central Texas veteran is finally returning hone after an extremely long battle against COVID-19.

For Army Veteran Gary Chalupa, what was supposed to be a few days to vacation with family and friends quickly turned into several months of battling for his life.

Fully vaccinated, he was cleared by his doctors to go on vacation with his family last summer when he caught COVID. Unfortunately, he had to be put into a medically induced coma for several months, where he battled as series of illnesses due to the disease weakening his immune system. His condition became so dire that the doctors asked his wife if they needed to resuscitate him if he started dying

“She finally decided that if she was gonna fight this hard, so would I,” he said.

“So, when I finally came to and was thinking clearly, I realized that if they were gonna support me, I was gonna fight like Hell too.”

Thankfully, he’s slowly recovered from two battles with COVID-19. Even after coming to, he was later admitted to Everest rehab hospital in Temple to rebuild his muscle strength. He adds this is where his Army training and motivation from his family really kicked in.

“A couple of ladies in the hospital called me an overachiever,” he said.

“They’d tell me I’d have to take ten steps, so I’d take 15. Can you make it 75 feet today? I’ll make it 110. My family really became my motivation.”

Finally, after battling for almost 7 months, Gary was released. While he’s thankful to be alive, he says he will always remember to share the importance of getting vaccinated.

“Separate the politics from the science,” he said.

“Follow science and do what’s right for your family.”

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