Local woman’s fight to be with husband in pandemic makes Positively Jax difference for whole state

Mary Daniel’s story captured governor’s attention, helped lead to change

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For every one of us who has missed being with loved ones during this pandemic, Mary Daniel has made a Positively Jax difference.

She spearheaded an effort to gain access for families to Long Term Care and Assisted Living Facilities so families could be with their loved ones.

That mission was born out of her own desperation to see her husband. Mary was separated for four months from Steve, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in a memory care facility. Mary felt that separation was tragic and cruel. She worried that the isolation was going to be deadly for her husband, so she began exploring options.

In order to be closer to Steve, she took a job as a dishwasher at the facility where he lives. Not only did she get to see him, she also got to hug him. And when that happened, she noticed an immediate difference in his disposition.

Mary decided she wanted to help make a difference for others. She got Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attention. He wound up appointing her to a state task force to work with Florida agencies and others to figure out a safe way to allow access to facilities.

By doing so Mary assisted in saving many lives. She not only made a Positively Jax difference but a difference in lives nationwide because she refused to let COVID-19 keep her apart from her husband.


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