Salvation Army helping Seminole County family in need due to COVID-19

‘Nothing this year has been normal for us,’ wife says

WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. – Mike Russell, 41, is finally home with his wife Kathryn and his two daughters Hannah, 4, and Brianna, 9.

Though they are together, Russel said things are going to be very different this Christmas.

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“I have what they call survivor’s guilt. There’s other people that got sick and they had families and they didn’t make it. Why did I?” Russell said.

Russell is recovering after getting COVID-19 back in July. He was put on a ventilator for two weeks when he first went to the hospital, and his condition got worse after suffering from two strokes and a collapsed lung.

He didn’t return home until October.

“It’s hard from the stroke I had, I lost part of my eye sight. I lost central vision but the whole bottom part of the hemisphere I just don’t see clear,” Russell said.

Russell is a computer programmer currently on short term disability and doesn’t know when he’ll be able to go back to work.

“Nothing this year has been normal for us,” Kathryn said.

She explained it’s traditional of her family to adopt an angel from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, but sadly, they won’t be able to this time around.

“We are not going to be able to go pick out an angel too to help this year unfortunately, and that was hard to have to say because it’s a normal thing for us,” she said

Now, the Salvation Army is stepping in to help the Russells by adding them to the Angel Tree program in hopes of bringing some joy this holiday season.

“We are all in this together, we are one community and we have to be there for each other,” Kathryn said.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!