February 02, 2023 – Everybody loves a love story. This one has a couple who meet and fall in love, a tragic event that could tear them apart, challenges they overcome and a happy ending – all the ingredients for a great story. And thanks to the help of a caring Home Health team, this couple will be spending Valentine’s Day together for the first time as husband and wife.
Being part of home health gives the staff an opportunity to be a bigger part of the lives of their patients, especially when there is a long-term relationship. Healthcare workers are with people during some of the more difficult chapters of their lives, holding hands, comforting patients. Medical staff members develop relationships as they listen to patients’ stories and become invested in their lives and families, laughing at funny stories and tearing up when tragedy strikes. Michelle Amburgey, registered nurse with Hazard ARH Home Health, has just that kind of relationship with the Deatons so when they shared a dream with Michelle, she decided to make it come true.
This story begins with Preston and Miranda Deaton, two people who have been in love for more than a dozen years. They met at Preston’s home and it was almost love at first sight as they fell in love within days of meeting and have been together ever since.
In 2010, an automobile accident left Preston a quadriplegic and wedding plans were not a priority as his health and well-being became the focus. Miranda has never left his side; she is his primary caregiver. For the last twelve years most of their time and money has been spent on his care and a wedding didn’t seem to be in their future. Instead they concentrated on overcoming the accident and the resulting challenges. They just didn’t know how to make a ceremony happen in their circumstances.
Nurse Michelle has been seeing Preston for an extended period of time, and he and Miranda have become family to Michelle. When she discovered Preston and Miranda’s dream, she shared it with others at Hazard ARH Home Health and they did all they could do not only to make it happen, but to make it a memory to treasure as well.
Truly taking care of her patient, Michelle called the local county court clerk’s office and explained the situation. Then it was Angie Back’s turn to get involved. Angie is a clerk with Hazard ARH Home Health. Her daughter, Hannah Gooch, works at the county court clerk’s office and she helped get the application process started. Miranda went to the clerk’s office and applied for the marriage license and the Perry County Court Clerk, Wayne Napier, made a home visit to finish the process.
*Picture attached: Joanna, Tiffany, Bradley with their parents Miranda and Preston Deaton.
Everyone at Home Health wanted to be part of this. Michelle and Susie Prater, another registered nurse with Hazard ARH Home Health, got ring and clothing sizes. The home health office staff donated money and Michelle bought the wedding bands and all of the clothing for the wedding party. Susie donated decorations for the wedding, Angie contacted and ordered a cake from the “cake lady,” and staff ordered food from the local Walmart. Hazard ARH Home Health Services Director Windy Enffuse brought tables and chairs and was the photographer for the festivities. Windy’s husband Donnie performed the ceremony and Windy’s daughter Madison helped to dress the bride and apply her makeup. The bride’s sister was the hairstylist for the flower girls’ and the bride’s hair.
Susan Stewart, Chief Executive Office of Home Care Services says, “There’s a special connection that’s developed between our home health staff and our patients. When you are welcomed into someone’s home on a regular basis, you really get to know the patients and their loved ones. You see the family photos, the children’s trophies and school projects and many times, you meet extended family members and friends. You have the unique opportunity to establish deeper relationships with patients and our team is legendary in their service and in the care they provide. Our team is made up of home care heroes and this is a great example of the special things in addition to a commitment to the highest quality of medical care that the home health team across the ARH system does daily.”
On September 4, 2022, with family and home health staff in attendance, Miranda’s stepmother walked Miranda down the aisle (hallway). Miranda and Preston’s daughters were flower girls and their son was the ring bearer as the couple joined hands in matrimony. For the honeymoon the Deatons watched scenes from Hawaii on the television. The couple say their future plans are to “just grow old together.
This was supposed to be a story about a love story and the amazing individuals who helped a couple overcome obstacles in order to be married. And part of it is about that. But it’s really a story about ARH. It shows the commitment to improving the health and promoting the well-being of the people of Appalachia. This story shows that the values of Trust, Innovation, Collaboration, Compassion and Service aren’t just words to the employees of ARH but rather words to live by. This story shows that healthcare isn’t simply a career; it’s a calling.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), is a not-for-profit health system operating 14 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, Martin, McDowell, Middlesboro, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, West Liberty, Whitesburg, and South Williamson in Kentucky and Beckley and Hinton in West Virginia, as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs more than 6,500 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $330 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and the single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third-largest private employer in southern West Virginia.