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State troopers bring music, food, and support to Akron senior care facility

Rockynol residents, families get visit by state troopers, inspired by a daughter's love for her mother, separated by COVID-19.

AKRON, Ohio — Seeing so much law enforcement parked in front of Akron's Rockynol Elder Care facility, one might think there was something wrong. 

In fact, this was something right. 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol brought music, inspirational signs, and lots of support along with families of residents. The show of support was inspired by State Trooper Dora Abshire, whose mother Mary Gonzales is a resident at Rockynol. "It's unbelievable. I'm just blown away by the support of OSP," Abshire said as her and her mother's hands tried to touch through a pane of glass. 

Rockynol, like many nursing home facilities, has been hit hard by COVID-19, with both residents and staff succumbing to the virus. The separation from family has been extremely painful for everyone to deal with. Those who work with residents try to keep away loneliness. 

That's where events like this help. 

Kara Hanzie is Executive Director of Ohio Living/Rockynol. "They miss their families so much and it's hard for our staff to see them miss their families so we try everything we can to connect them."

That includes food. Krispy Cream and Swenson's both came through with food donations for all the residents and staff, plus the hungry troopers. Swenson's happens to be Dora's mom's favorite. She even considered sneaking her a burger and some onion rings. "The windows open four inches and I actually considered slitting the screen and sliding a burger to her because it's her favorite food in the whole world!"

The virus has robbed so many of time together making shows of support like this one special. Before Dora said goodbye to her mom, she had a message to all out there going through a painful separation. "Stay in touch with your family. Come visit, even through windows. Skype, send cards. Anything. Just keep praying and keep the faith and we'll all get through this together."

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