LODI, Ohio — When most people in northeast Ohio think of Lodi, they think of the outlet mall just off the interstate. However, just north of the shopping plaza is a small town of about 3000 people. In a town that small, when one person is hurting, the whole community feels it.
“Everybody helps everybody else around here,” says Lodi resident, Diane Geissman.
Lodi, as she tells is, is a place where everybody knows everybody’s name.
“I’m related to the mayor,” says Tina Frary. “I’m related to the treasurer and county commissioner.”
Tina has lived in Lodi for close to 30 years with her husband Greg, a man she can’t stop saying nice things about.
“Every time we’d go into a restaurant, he’s got a $100 or $200 tip on there for a $25 meal. That’s the kind of man he is.”
When a man like Greg in a small town like Lodi, is put into a medically induced coma due to the coronavirus, it hits the town hard. However, it hits no one harder than Tina, especially this week.
“On Saturday, we’ll, okay,” says a choked-up Tina. “We’ll be married 33 years. In all that time, we’ve never been apart more than 5 days. So, this has been a living nightmare.”
To make matters worse, Tina has also been diagnosed with Covid-19 which makes any comfort from a friendly hug or shoulder to cry on, impossible. Now in quarantine, the highlight of each day has been when the nurse at the hospital does her a favor.
Tina says, “So they’ll take their phone in and they put it next to his ear and I get to talk to him.”
Wanting to do something, the community of Lodi has rallied around Tina and Greg. They’ve been showing their support by calling, praying and dropping things off at the house.
“It hit home,” says Diane. “When it hit home, boy it hit home.”
Now the #GregStrong movement has caught on around town, with t-shirts and yard signs being ordered. Everyone participating is doing so with the hope that when Greg beats this and comes back to his small town, he’ll do so knowing the entire community was fighting in his corner.
“The outpouring of love and support, people I don’t even know, has been phenomenal,” says Tina. “That means so much to us and that is probably what will get him through this.”