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Man remains grateful this Thanksgiving after battle with COVID-19

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 3:36 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Thanksgiving will be special for a Mount Olive family on Thursday. A husband and father will be there to give thanks after a tough battle with COVID-19 earlier this year.

Frank Pennington is the Public Works Director for the city of Irondale. He worked on Wednesday, but he will be especially thankful to be with this family after being in ICU on a ventilator in the hospital for 35 days.

Pennington was released from Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital back in September. He could barely speak and had difficulty walking. While Pennington has improved, he still has health issues. “I’m feeling great. Still my lung capacity is not great. They tell me that will be a year or so before I heal,” Pennington said.

Pennington and his wife Marla relied on the faith to get those difficult times in the hospital. Both questioned if he would be alive to enjoy Thanksgiving to enjoy it with his family. His wife Marla said they even had the goodbye talk. “He was still not out of the woods. He tried to say all the things he wanted to say and I said ‘no, no, no we are not going to have this talk. We are going to get through this.’ I tried to stay upbeat and positive,” Marla Pennington said.

Even Pennington had doubts. “Told the Lord I’m selfish and I told him what my wishes were to go home to my family and see my children grow up. I wasn’t sure his will was going to align with my wishes,” he said.

Pennington did improve thanks to prayers and help at the hospital. Thursday will be a day to give thanks.

“I’ve been a Christian since I was 17 years old, and I’ve always been thankful, but this year it’s really thankful. I wasn’t sure I would be here,” Pennington said.

Pennington added he will be eating a lot. “I lost 43 pounds in the hospital and I’m trying to gain some of that back. I will overeat tomorrow for sure.” Pennington said.

The Penningtons are thankful all the help they have gotten from their family and friends, the city of Irondale and even people they don’t know. Pennington said during his joy tomorrow he will remember those who lost their battle with COVID-19 this year.

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