Drive-by parade for family deeply affected by COVID-19 has many participants


JOHNSON CITY, NY – A Johnson City family that’s been ravaged by COVID-19 got a big boost this weekend as a seemingly endless stream on cars made a visible show of support.

Dozens of vehicles formed a drive by parade on Saturday afternoon driving by the home where 77 year-old Sandy Polakovich and her family are staying.

Polakovich’s husband Bill was the first person to die of coronavirus in Broome County.

One week later, Sandy herself was diagnosed with COVID-19 and ended up on a ventilator at Wilson Hospital.

But she defied the odds, recovering enough to return home to continue recuperating.
Saturday’s drive by tribute was a welcome surprise to Sandy.

And while her daughter Lisa Gallagher and granddaughter Meghan Gallagher had advanced notice, they were shocked by the large turnout.

“She actually burst into tears when she first saw it. We were all pretty much crying the entire time. We knew she had supporters but it was so nice everyone who came out. They didn’t have to do that but they wanted to do that to make her day and it really did,” says Meghan.

“They had signs and balloons and they were beeping and yelling. It was great. She loved it.” Meghan says, “It was amazing.” Lisa says, “She loved it.”

Supporters also stopped to drop off some cards and donations at the foot of the drive for the family which feels as though it’s been under endless quarantine.

Unfortunately, Sandy developed a fever Sunday and needed to go back into the hospital.

But Lisa reports that her doctors believe it’s caused by a different illness unrelated to COVID-19.

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