When Steven Skinner first heard of what frontline workers were up against, he felt he had to do something. Skinner, a plumber by trade, painted a mural on his garage door in Plano as way of showing gratitude. It includes Romans 15:13, a passage from the Bible.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,” Skinner read from the mural. “I never read that passage before I painted it. I just was looking for the right words.”
He and his wife Martha would soon find out just how much this painting would mean to them.
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“When everything started opening up, I thought it was a good idea to have five of my friends over,” said Martha Skinner. “So, they all came. We were not wearing face masks. And we played and we had a really good time.”
She’d later find out nearly everyone who attended game night tested positive for COVID-19… with no knowledge of how long they’d all been carrying the virus.
“I started having this horrible headache. And I started feeling dizzy and really tired,” she said.
Steven got it the worst and found himself in the COVID-19 ward of a local hospital.
“The respiratory issues were terrible. It felt like someone parked a tank on your chest,” he said. “I was on oxygen most of the time. My heart stopped twice.”
He endured all this while Martha quarantined at home.
“When you’re not there with somebody that you love and that’s sick and you just can’t be there it’s the worst thing ever,” she said.
She wondered how two people who had just competed in an eight-week fitness challenge would make it through this.
“We were both in the best shape of our lives. I mean he’s 50. We don’t have any underlying. We don’t smoke we don’t drink we take care of ourselves,” said Martha.
Steven said it was the grace of God and the healthcare workers that saved his life. And upon his release, he returned to his mural to add the names of those who had cared for him.
“I don’t know if I would’ve had the spirit to go on if it wasn’t for them,” he said. “They’re my army of angels.”
And for the public, Marta and Steven Skinner have a message.
“Just wear a face mask when you’re around people and stay six feet apart,” said Martha. “It’s easy. And we all should be able to do that.”
Steven Skinner said it’s hard to put into words what he witnessed while inside the hospital.
“It was the scariest experience I’ve ever experienced in my 50 years of life,” he said. “I never want to go through that again.”
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.