JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After more than three decades of marriage, a Brooks Rehabilitation patient and his wife were finally able to be married in the Catholic Church over the weekend.
The wedding ceremony took place Saturday at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, three weeks after David Alcober was admitted.
David and his wife, Aloma Alcober, have been married for 34 years, but were previously unable to be married in the Catholic Church because Aloma had been divorced in the past.
Having the blessing of the Catholic Church became even more important to the couple when David suffered complications, which left him unable to walk or use his left arm, after a surgery for spinal stenosis and was hospitalized at Brooks.
David -- who served as a flight nurse in the Air Force for most of his career before retiring, becoming an operating room nurse and then director of operations -- said arriving at Brooks was one of the lowest points in his life.
“I had an epiphany one day. All of my nurses and therapists were so encouraging. It changed my attitude. I now believe in adapt and overcome," he said. "Rather than asking God to take me, I’m asking him to watch over me and help me improve."
Aloma did not give up on her and her husband's wish to get married in the Catholic Church. Shortly after David arrived at Brooks, she went to Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Jacksonville and asked Father John to visit her husband.
Father John stopped in the next day and heard the couple's story. He then obtained approval from the Bishop to marry the couple at Brooks.
With the help of Brooks staff members and the couple's three daughters, they arranged for a service in the Chapel and a reception in the Brooks assembly room.
After a week of working with his speech therapist to help him enunciate and project his voice, David sang "Over the Rainbow" as the ceremony began at 11:30 a.m.
Thirty-two friends and relatives who came from across the country then looked on as the couple shared their vows and a kiss.
After the service, David, Aloma and their guests enjoyed a traditional Filipino feast. David sang "What a Wonderful World" before cutting the wedding cake.
"The care and compassion we’ve received here at Brooks exceeded our expectations," Aloma said. "We cannot thank them and Father John enough for making this day a reality."