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'We just want to hug and kiss her' | Monroe woman turns 101 years old

Luella's nursing home isn't letting coronavirus stop their big celebration for her milestone birthday.

MONROE, N.C. — A Monroe nursing home isn't letting coronavirus stop a big celebration for one of its residents, who is turning 101 years old Friday. 

In honor of Luella's big day, community members, family and others took part in a parade to celebrate. It almost felt like the old days, with everyone seeing each other face to face instead of far away. 

"This was fantastic," Luella said. "It was really good."

For Luella, it's a celebration of perseverance: 101 years of it. Unfortunately these days, this level of human interaction is rare at the Pruitt Health nursing home. 

The crowd that showed up to celebrate goes to show the coronavirus doesn't stop the human spirit from spreading. 

"COVID-19 has reduced us to something we never thought we'd ever see," said one staff member. "We sent out a letter and it took off like wildfire through social media."

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Among those at the parade were church members and family, including Luella's daughter and son-in-law. 

"We just want to hug her and kiss her and tell her that we can come and see her," said her daughter. "That's what we want. She just brings joy to us every day."

Next year, Luella's family hopes to be close enough to actually hold her.