Endless Love: Hospital grants patient's final wish

Courtesy: WSAZ
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BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- June 27, 2018 turned out to be a very unusual and emotional day at Boone Memorial Hospital. A patient's room turned into a wedding chapel as the hospital staff helped a couple's dream come true.

Paul Baire and Sandra Mullins Baire have been together since they were 18 years old. Although their love persevered through the years, their marriage didn't at one point in time.

The couple first said 'I do' on July 18, 1972. Their marriage lasted nearly two decades, but then they divorced. While they later got back together, they never made it official and remarried.

Together, Paul and Sandra have one daughter who is now 44.

"Paul wanted to get remarried for a long time," Sandra said. "But we just never did. Our kids are grown and time just slipped away."

A hospital staff member says Paul's last wish was to once again be Sandra's husband.

"When Ms. Baire told me they wanted to get married but were running out of time, I told my co-workers and everyone wanted to help," Dr. Elizabeth Sweet said. "So we all started working together as a team to make it happen."

It really was teamwork. The hospital staffers quickly turned into wedding planners.

Family Nurse Practitioner Melissa Price got in touch with the hospital's Dietary Department. They immediately began making a wedding cake, preparing wine glasses filled with punch, and planning a special wedding dinner.

The Hospital Auxiliary donated a flower bouquet for the bride.

Certified Nursing Assistant Tina Akers made wedding rings from a bracelet she wore to work.

"I have actual wedding rings at home, but really appreciate the nurses making some for us," Sandra said. "I don't look prepared to get married," she laughed. "It all happened so fast, but I feel so good we did it. I know Paul is happy."

Finally, Hospital Care Manager Whitney Yeager, RN, BSN, found a local preacher. "Being a member of the Madison United Methodist Church, I called in a favor to my Pastor, Rick Swearengin," Yeager said. "He came immediately."

Inside patient room 218, employees crowded around to witness the hospital's first wedding ceremony.

"There was barely a dry eye in the room," Dr. Sweet said. "It was an emotional, yet rewarding experience. One we will never forget."

The manager of the hospital's Inpatient Floor expressed in a press release how proud he was.

"I see the compassion of our nurses and entire medical team on a daily basis but today was unique," Stuard Haugen said. "Everyone went above and beyond to make this special for Mr. and Mrs. Baire. I was so proud of each and every person involved."

According to hospital staff, Paul went to Sherman High School. Immediately after graduating, he joined the Marine Corps and became a corporal. Along his journey he was also a deputy sheriff, coal miner, city police officer, Vietnam veteran, and an employee with the Division of Corrections.

"I'm so proud of him," Sandra said. "So many people have no idea the wonderful things he has accomplished."

About 30 minutes away, Sandra went to Scott High School. After graduating, she studied at the Junior College in Beckley then Marshall University. According to a news release from the hospital, Sandra's mom was a Rosie the Riveter. Her dad was active in the UMWA and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.