Couple donates 50 beds, oxygen cylinders on wedding day
In a unique gesture, newly wed couple Eric Anton Lobo, 28, and Merlin, 27, of Nandakhal village in Vasai decided to celebrate their wedding day by donating 50 hospital beds and oxygen cylinders to the rural Covid-19 care centre at Satpala village on Saturday.
“In a typical Christian wedding, around 2,000 guests attend and the event is incomplete without wine and good food. This costs a big packet. We decided to celebrate differently,” said Lobo.
Only 22 guests attended the wedding and all wore face masks and maintained social distancing. “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, scores of people are dying and in Vasai-Virar. In the Palghar district, around 90 people have died and more than 1,500 have tested positive, so we decided to contribute our bit,” said Lobo. “We wanted to share our joy with our fellow Vasai residents by helping provide better care for patients in hospitals,” he added.
In March, Lobo and Merlin approached local MLA Kshitij Thakur with the idea and he directed them to Dr Kailas Shinde, Palghar district collector, who approved the special project.
“We then approached a Vasai fabricator to design the hospital beds as per government health department specifications and also contacted various linen dealers to give us a good deal for mattresses, blankets, pillows, bedsheets, and other allied materials,” said Lobo, adding, “We also decided to provide oxygen cylinders as and when health department officials need them to treat Covid patients.”
After the marriage ceremony, which was attended by Thakur, the couple went to the Covid care centre where the beds had already arrived. A small inauguration was held with the couple still in their wedding clothes.
Earlier, the couple was actively involved in the local community kitchen and also helped provide the government with lists of migrants from Vasai-Virar who wanted passage on Shramik special trains to return to their home towns.
“Eric and Merlin have set an example for the society and I congratulate them for their noble deed,” said Thakur.
“Good Samaritans like these will help us battle the Covid pandemic and come out of it quickly. Residents of Vasai-Virar have always been supportive of their society, and I am optimistic that more people will come forward to do their bit in the coming days,” he added.