WARROAD, Minn. – With horns honking and banners waving, friends and family members on Saturday, May 16, drove past the Warroad home of Stephen Fisher, a COVID-19 survivor and the only Roseau County resident to test positive for the illness.
The parade stretched down the street and around a nearby corner. Dozens of vehicles participated, and their drivers and occupants displayed signs and shouted welcoming comments as they drove by.
"Glad you're home," came a shout from one vehicle.
"Nice to see you," said another driver shortly thereafter.
Debra Watson and her daughter, Sarah Homme, of Warroad, organized Saturday's parade. Watson thought a drive-by parade would show the community’s support for Fisher and let him know they were happy he was back at home, Homme said.
Fisher, who has lived in Warroad for about 30 years, was overwhelmed by the parade and the support he and his family have received from community members since he tested positive for COVID-19 nearly six weeks ago, he said.
Fisher was hospitalized at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks from April 2 until May 11, when he was released and returned to Warroad.
More than 200 yellow ribbons, tied around trees and street signs, and a "Welcome Home" banner, greeted Fisher upon his return.
During Saturday's parade, Fisher sat on his front porch with his wife, Nancy, three of their children and a granddaughter, to watch. Warroad Mayor Bob Marvin and his wife, Loralee, led the parade of about 100 vehicles.
Some participants even left gifts.
“It was amazing, I’m very happy to be home,” Stephen Fisher said after the parade. ”I’m absolutely grateful and thankful. It was nice to see all kinds of people I know. It’s been awhile.”
Of the 40 days Fisher spent in the hospital, he was on a ventilator for 18. During much of the time, he wasn’t conscious of what was going on around him, but Nancy, who was at their Warroad home, was. She appreciated everything that was done for the family during Fisher's hospital stay, she said.
Members of the Warroad community left groceries, flowers and candy on the front porch and decorated their driveway with chalk drawings of hearts and hope-filled messages, Nancy Fisher said.
“We are just overwhelmed and humbled by the love and support we’ve got from our community and churches and family,” she said.
Saturday’s parade for her husband was another heartfelt show of support Fisher and his family appreciated.
“It has just continued,” Nancy Fisher said. “I love our town.”
The couple also were touched by the prayers for Stephen that were offered up from people around the world while he was ill.
“The people we appreciate, and God did miracle after miracle," Nancy Fisher said. "We hope that it helps a lot of people grow their faith in God and turn their eyes to Him.”