ATLANTIC CITY — When Peter Gladue received his second COVID-19 vaccination dose at the Atlantic County COVID-19 vaccination mega site in April, he wanted to express his appreciation as his mother would have.
His token of appreciation was in the form of rubber duckies in medical attire for every vaccinator at the site. The toy novelty idea came from his late mother, Gertrude “Skip” Gladue, who gave rubber duckies to the people who cared for her when she developed dementia.
“She wanted everyone who took care of her to know she appreciated them,” said Gladue, of Egg Harbor City. “She’d put a duck on the table for each person who cared for her. She’d say, ‘At the end of the day, when you are tired and you get home, fill your sink with water, put your duck into the water and watch your troubles float away.’”
Minutes after getting his second dose, Gladue played Rare Earth’s “I Just Want to Celebrate” on his cell phone and danced in place to show the team his appreciation.
“Getting vaccinated is something people should celebrate,” he said. “I’m so grateful for what AtlantiCare and the entire mega site team are doing. Everything was running very smoothly when I got my first vaccine. Parking attendants were very nice, they helped me find a close place to park. When people inside the convention center saw that I have a disability, they helped me to get to the elevator. The National Guard was great. They took care of me when I received my second dose with the same professionalism and courtesy.”
Gladue had a stroke in 2012.
Annie Gladue Jedemi, Peter’s sister who lives in California, saw the difference a rubber duckie would make in someone’s day when her mother would give them to her caretakers.
“When (Peter) told me he’d like to do something similar for the mega site team, I smiled. Mom would approve for sure,” she said.
Now that he’s vaccinated, he’s looking forward to visiting his family and socializing with his neighbors in his 55-and-over community.
“The joke in our family is that we have no excuses,” he said. “We have to take care of our health. Getting vaccinated is one way I’m doing that.”
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