Husband, 88, Uses Bucket Lift to Visit Wife of 61 Years at Nursing Home Amid Pandemic

April 17, 2020
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One husband went to great lengths – and heights – to see the love of his life amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Nick Avtges, 88, is a dedicated husband who visits his wife Marion, 85, daily at the Maristhill Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Massachusetts everyday.

But when the coronavirus outbreak forced many state’s to impose “stay at home” orders, the facility closed its doors and halted visitation to protect the elderly residents, according to The Boston Globe.

When Nick’s family realized how heartbroken he was because he could no longer see his wife of 61 years on a daily basis, they stepped in to help.

Since Marion’s room is on the third floor of the facility, they had to come up with a creative plan.

“[It was] awesome and emotional, on so many different levels,” Nick’s son, Chris, told the publication of his idea to use a bucket lift.

Initially, the idea, which came to him during a bonfire with friends, was a joke, but he found himself brainstorming ways to make it happen.

Chris’s first step was to find someone with a bucket lift via Facebook. He reconnected with a high school classmate, Peter Tzannos, who was more than willing to help.

With a bucket lift secured, Chris took the next step and contacted the president and administrator of Maristhill, James Tracy, to ask permission.

“[I] spoke with them and made sure they were all set with it, and the ball started rolling from there,” Chris said.

Finally, on April 8, it happened.

Many of Nick’s relatives came out to watch the heartwarming reunion including his granddaughter, Sydney Avtges, who captured it on video and shared it to Facebook.

In the clip, Nick is seen wearing a mask and gloves as he waves from the bucket lift that propelled him 30 feet into the air to his wife’s window.

When Nick reached the top, he held a sign that read, “I Love You Sweetheart.” Marion waved back clearly impressed by her husband’s fearlessness.

“I showed her the sign. And she said, ‘I love you too, more than you know,'” Nick recalled. “They could have lifted me 10 stories and it would not have bothered me. As long as I got to see her. I was just anxious to see her.”

“We touched each other through the screen,” he told WYCN. “Our fingertips touched.”

Chris was equally as touched by the moment, explaining, “That was the first time he saw her face-to-face in weeks. It was just amazing.”

Nick even has plans for a life post-coronavirus – they’re going on vacation!

While much remains uncertain in these unprecedented times, Nick knows one thing for sure: “We’ve been married 61 years and love [each other] today as much as we did when we first met.”

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