‘Desperate’, not ‘provocative’ – Michigan restaurant owner died by COVID


I rarely write opinion pieces, especially on anything close to politics or related to COVID-19. There are enough of them there, too many really.

But when I came across this story on other media this morning about the death of a Michigan man due to complications from COVID-19, I was disappointed with the angle used in the headlines related to his. dead and what he and his family have been through for years. In particular, the word “provoking” or “defying” just didn’t seem to fit the true nature of the story.

John Parney, 62, owner of Quincy Diner in Branch County, died Dec. 14 after battling COVID-19 for months. He was admittedly not vaccinated, but was clearly questioning that decision. He was even planning to get one, claiming his battle with COVID-19 was worse than anything he had experienced during his military training. But he never made a full recovery after being hospitalized in September.

If that wasn’t enough, his wife Paula was battling stage four colon cancer, which is the main reason he chose to keep his restaurant open on a partial closure order in December 2020. The word ” challenge “in a headline would have you think people were crowded with no masks, and this was some sort of political or social statement, similar to other stories about businesses during shutdowns.

But the facts are, Parney gave the decision a lot of thought, not taking it lightly. He was aware that it was a risk and against orders, but I could not find anything to indicate that he was trying to make any statement with his decision. When he decided to stay open against the order, he called it desperate because of his wife’s medical bills and their income. If they had lost the business, it could literally have resulted in the death of his wife if she hadn’t been able to get the care she needed to fight cancer. And the other thing that hasn’t been mentioned in recent articles is that they’ve separated tables, distributed customers with social distancing, deep cleaned menus, and followed mask-wearing protocols.

To be fair, there were other stories of companies in Michigan that I thought would suit the bill to be “provocative” when it comes to state health orders related to the pandemic. Whether you agree or disagree with the orders or what the business owners decided to do at the time, that’s not where I’m going. It’s about bringing this person together with the others when there was clearly a lot more to this story. And at no point did I read anything about his defiant behavior in keeping his business open. My heart breaks for the Parney family as they deal with this loss, especially just before the Christmas holidays.

The definition of the word “challenge” is “open resistance; daring disobedience ”. I’m guessing the open resistance part isn’t technically wrong. But can we agree that the word sounds much harsher than the facts here? Desperate certainly seems more precise to me. You can argue about whether it was the right decision or not, but let’s present it as it really was. Desperate, not provocative.

And if you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, please consider what you have read in this story and think about what this family is going through. You don’t need to get the shot in the mindset that the president, governor, or any other politician or health expert keeps telling you. Get it for yourself and for your family and friends. Get it for the people in your community who care about you and want you in their lives. Get vaccinated despite a vaccination warrant, not because of it, unless you have genuine health reasons for not doing so.

The good news in the midst of this tragedy is that Paula, while still battling cancer, is doing much better. But now she is a widow, without her life partner.

A GoFundMe page is underway for the Parney family which you can find in BY CLICKING HERE. Another fundraising event is scheduled at the Hillsdale Pizza Hut at 508 W. Carleton Road on January 11, 2022, which will take place between 4 pm and 8 pm. During this time, 10% of the restaurant’s sales will go to the family.

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