NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. - A New Hartford man returned home after a nearly two month hospital stay to a parade of cars welcoming him back.
The family of Rich Mustee, 41, organized the parade as a surprise after a long bout with COVID-19 nearly took his life. Drivers honked their horns and passengers held up signs to serenade Mustee, as he sat on his porch with his wife Pam and five-year-old daughter.
"We have had an outpouring of community support, unlike anything I've ever seen," said Pam Mustee. "From Christmas gifts delivered from the ICU staff at MVHS, all the way through anonymous gifts in our mailbox to people just coming and literally moving my garbage cans up the driveway for me so that I wouldn't have to do it. We've just been beyond blessed, and we are so thankful for everything that everyone has done for us."
Mustee, who had no preexisting conditions, was admitted to the ICU on November 11 after experiencing low oxygen levels. He tested positive for COVID-19, and spent the next three weeks on a ventilator. He was in the hospital for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"We live in an awesome community," Pam Mustee said. "The greater city of Utica, New Hartford, Whitesboro, we are all just very blessed to have each other. It's important that we lift each other up right now, and stay positive and stay strong."