'COVID doesn't have to be a death sentence' - Bloomingburg man breathing on his own 6 months after getting virus

A Bloomingburg man was hospitalized with the coronavirus for months and was planning his own funeral, but now he is the latest story of survival.
Gary Texter celebrated his first full day breathing on his own at the Friedwald Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in New City Wednesday.
Texter was first hospitalized with COVID-19 on March 30. With other pre-existing health issues including diabetes, it became a difficult and long journey.
His wife, Beth Texter, said she had to become his voice and make decisions for him, since he could not communicate himself most days.
On days he was communicating, he and his wife were planning for the worst.
The constant prayers from family, friends and his medical team became their bright light in the darkest of times.
The turning point came on the heels of his 69th birthday on Oct. 1, and they celebrated a day early at the rehabilitation center.
"You can be at the highest risk scale and think you will die but don't have to. COVID doesn't have to be a death sentence," said Gary Texter.
His only wish this year is to use his renewed hope to save others.