CHOTEAU — Ron Daley returned home to Choteau this week after spending the last year in hospitals as he battled COVID-19.
Daley went to the hospital with a cough and some trouble breathing on the night of Nov. 13, 2020 — beginning a year-long battle that no one could’ve ever imagined.
“When he was admitted into the hospital there were plenty of people being admitted to the hospital so we didn’t think too much of it, but then things just kept going downhill and nobody really knew what was going on,” said Daley Janzen, Ron’s pastor and family friend. “It was really scary to see him digress so quickly. It went from just a cough to his lungs to being so bad that they couldn’t take him in a helicopter.”
“He was our best friend. It was just so wild to watch our world just flip completely upside down," Ron's daughter Delani said.
Ron spent time in different hospitals across Montana, starting with Great Falls, transferring to Helena, and then ending in Miles City.
After months of getting their hopes up, countless events missed, and a new grandson, Ron's return to Choteau was celebrated by the community.
“I can’t even begin to put into words how happy I am to finally be home,” said Ron.
Ron said he initially didn’t take COVID that seriously, but certainly does now, as do his friends and family.
“Just had no idea and it weighed on a lot of people,” explained Janzen. “For me personally there were a lot of times I really struggled. ‘What’s going on? How come?’”
Janzen said there were certainly low points for Ron’s journey home, but he always had reason to fight on.
When MTN interviewed Ron in Helena in May before he left for Miles City, it was clear his drive was to return home to his family. His room was full of pictures and he had staff write down his prayers for them on a whiteboard each day.
Ron's illness has been a significant burden on the finances of his family. A GoFundMe has been set up to help them out; click here if you would like to donate.