A prayer and a vow: ICU nurse battles COVID-19 as wife renews vows, his team prayers

Franklin man fights for his life in the ICU he works at.
Franklin man fights for his life in the ICU he works at.(Jacque Woodward)
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 6:48 PM EST
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Ky. (WBKO) - Gary Woodward is the critical care team leader at Ascension Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, where he has helped the sickest COVID patients since the pandemic began.

Additionally, he’s been helping musicians safely record music during this time. Earlier this year, he was in studio with country music band, Shenandoah where he supervised their recording session of the song, “I’d take another one of those.” They eventually dedicated this song to Gary as he fights for his life.

Meanwhile, the Franklin man’s wife Jacque Woodward is sharing Gary’s story as he battles with COVID-19 in the same ICU he works in.

“We were high school sweethearts. We grew up in a small town of Auburn,” said Jacque Woodward.

When Jacque Woodward of Franklin renewed her wedding vows on a milestone anniversary, she never thought she’d do it without her partner by her side.

“Sunday was our 45th wedding anniversary. So, it was quite challenging,” she said.

Her other half, Gary is hooked up to a ventilator, fighting for his life with COVID-19. Jacque says he does not have any underlying health conditions.

“His kidneys started to shut down. So, he’s been placed on dialysis. And he’s gone into a-fib. And he has had his body temperature dropped to 93.”

While this is his first time as a patient in the hospital, he’s been on this floor at Saint Thomas West more than a time or two.

“He has mentored so many nurses,” explained Jacque. “And now he is a patient fighting for his life.”

Gary has worked at Saint Thomas West for 25 years. As the ICU team leader during a pandemic, he has been caring for the sickest knowing he could become one.

“And we all knew the risk when this pandemic hit. And we knew that we were going to continue to be good servants for the Lord.”

The team he once led, now leading him through survival. Even using the power of prayer outside of his room.

“The Lord is pressing down on every one of his nurses and his medical team, to give them the guidance and the direction that they need to make sure that they’re doing everything possible, to move Gary toward healing.”

Jacque says it’s faith over fear and the reminder of Gary’s strength for how she finds the strength herself.

“And he’s a bold man. And I know he would want me to be bold and strong. And that’s what I’m doing every day,” said Jacque.

So perhaps in the hardest time of this four-and-a-half-decade marriage, vows renewed to not be broken; and in turn, Jacque’s hoping that can be enough.

“I took that oath at the altar. And I said, sickness and health, and I mean it. And I’m asking the Lord to bring him home to me.”

Jacque and their three daughters all work in the line of health care as well.

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