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84-year-old Michigan veteran welcomed home after entering hospital for COVID-19 in November

Posted at 6:02 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 08:46:15-05

STERLING HEIGHTS (WXYZ)  — Lou Cardinale, an 84-year-old veteran from Sterling Heights, was welcomed back home by his family Monday after entering the hospital with COVID-19 in early November.

Raechel Soave, one of Lou's six grandchildren, said her grandfather — or 'Papa' as they call him — was in great shape before contracting the virus, noting his love for golf, bowling and hockey.

Raechel tells 7 Action News that Lou spent 10 days in the ICU at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital before being transferred to other facilities for rehabilitation. During it all, he was unable to see loved ones, besides a few quick visits through glass during the later part of his care.

"We are a very close family and he is a social butterfly," she said. "While he was in the ICU, he sent us a photo of him holding up a peace sign and said goodnight to us."

That's when the family began doing the same, sending photos back to Lou with the peace sign to say goodnight.

Since Lou missed his birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day during his fight, his family decorated the yard of his Sterling Heights home to help him celebrate all of times he missed.

On Monday afternoon, his family held a welcome back drive-thru event for Lou, letting him know that they sure did miss him. Raechel says they hope his story inspires others in the community who may be having a hard time.

"Times are extremely tough right now for a lot of people and we want to spread some hope and love to those in need of some faith," she said.