Volunteers decorate Groton family’s home for the holidays to lift spirits following battle with COVID-19

New London

GROTON,Conn. (WTNH)– They battled COVID-19 but they didn’t necessarily do it alone. A Groton family says family, friends, and even strangers all offered to help. 

“November started really great. We celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary and then a few days later it all went down hill,” Dana Parfitt said with a laugh.

The Groton woman talked with News 8 on the phone from her back porch. Our crew stood twenty feet away.

She, her husband John, and their two grandchildren Owin and Onastasha all caught COVID-19 in early November.

“We were hit hard,” said Parfitt. “It truly felt like we were run over by a truck.”

John ended up in the hospital with COVID pneumonia. 

“A couple of days when we didn’t know if it was going to go better,” said Parfitt.

Fortunately they have now all recovered. Although John does still have some lingering effects.

“I feel good today,” said John Parfitt. “Every day’s a little better.”

To help the family, friends and relatives brought over meals and then one group of strangers reminded them what the holidays are all about.

“We said this is the perfect family to decorate for so we could lift their spirits and really help them get into the holiday cheer,” said Tomi Stanley, with the Groton Senior Center who led the effort. 

With no holiday party this year she decided to create a map of homes decorated for the holidays and then decided to help one family who needed it.

Members of the Poquonnock Bridge fire department pitched in. 

“That was quite a team effort watching the firemen with all their poles getting lights on” said Dana Parfitt.

The Groton police department also joined forces with the other volunteers to make this a happier holiday.

“Was a great opportunity to connect with the… our community and anytime we have a chance we usually jump on it,” said Sgt. Rich Sawyer of the Groton Police Department. 

The Parfitts actually wanted the back of their house decorated not the front because the back faces Route 1 and they wanted to share all the decorations with the people who drive by. They wanted to spread joy after receiving it themselves.

“It’s just so heartwarming. Totally unexpected. Absolutely,” said Dana and John Parfitt.

A new tradition for the Senior Center which will pick a new family each year. 

“Everybody who drives by gets to have a glimpse of a beautiful lit up house,” said Stanley.

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