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Va. community honors widow who encouraged neighbors to get vaccinated after husband's COVID-19 death

Posted at 7:25 AM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 14:54:49-05

BLACKSTONE, Va. -- A Blackstone woman was honored for encouraging rural Virginians to get a COVID-19 vaccine after her husband, who was not vaccinated, died from the virus in August.

Dianne Hudson sat down with CBS 6 in September and got emotional when explaining what her family had dealt with after her 50-year-old husband Donnie's death.

"I don't want to paint a grim picture about the COVID, but it is for real," Dianne explained. "You see on TV people dying, and you think that's not going to happen around here. Yes, it will happen.”

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Hudson and her family weren't planning to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but after her husband's death, she and her son got the shot.

They spoke out locally asking others to do the same.

"When Donnie got out, he was going to talk to everybody about this COVID vaccine," she noted. "Which is a big step for us because we were like so many. And we were like, no, we're not going to get it."

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During the CBS 6 Month of Giving, reporter Caroline Coleburn traveled to her hometown of Blackstone to sit down with Hudson.

The widow thought she was going to be doing an interview about COVID-19 and grief during the holiday season, but she didn't know she was about to get an even bigger surprise.

"The holiday season is going to be tough on anyone who has lost a loved one," said Hudson. "You know, every day, not just during the holiday season I say, God, give me the strength to get through today."

As Hudson explained how much her family and community mean to her, her family and co-workers from her two jobs at Citizens Bank & Trust and the Blackstone Herb Cottage walked into the room.

"What are y'all doing?" Hudson asked tearfully.

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"Dianne, you think we are here to interview you about your loss and what the holidays are like without a loved one, but we're really here to celebrate you and what you've done for this community. You are a recipient of our Month of Giving," Coleburn said as she presented Hudson with a gift card.

"Y'all are going to make me cry too much," said Hudson. "Thank you so much!"

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Hudson's friends and family hugged her and told her how much she's done for the community.

"Nobody wants to go through this," Hudson noted. "It is for real, and I encourage everyone to get the vaccine and the booster now, if they are up for that."

Watch for a new CBS 6 Month of Giving surprise every day in December on CBS 6 News at 6 a.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.

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