An Iowa man's search for the family of a colleague, who tested positive for coronavirus, finally came to an end this week, after his Facebook post seeking help went viral.
On Friday, Waterloo, Iowa's Zach Medhaug posted a message on social media searching for the family of a good friend and co-worker, Jose Ayala.
According to an Associated Press report, Ayala, who hails from Laredo, is currently on a ventilator at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after contracting the COVID-19 a month ago. He is currently medically paralyzed, but may still be able to hear.
Medhuag said that every morning, the doctors don't expect Ayala to live another day. "But every day he makes it to the next day, defying everyone's expectations," he said.
Over 1,200 miles separate Waterloo, Iowa and Laredo, Texas, but it only took a day for the message to reach the Laredo family’s ears.
According to a local news website lmtonline.com the Facebook post had thousands of shares. Within hours of the post, Medhaug began getting calls on his cell phone, with Laredoans reaching out, eager to help.
Soon the Laredo Police Department also reached out to him, giving him valuable information that would help him get in contact with Jose's brothers, sisters, father and more.
The report adds: "I did not expect this response," Medhaug said. " It was awesome to see how tight knit the community is down there; to see how much support poured in to help Jose."
The two men worked together at the Tyson meat plant in Waterloo. According an April 24 Gulf News article, 182 cases of the novel coronavirus have been linked to the plant.
The article on lmtonline.com reports that: “While Jose was known throughout the Waterloo plant for being a private person, Medhaug and Ayala struck up a friendship that endured. It was through this friendship that Medhaug learned about his family in Laredo. When Ayala was stricken with COVID-19, it was up to Medhaug to try to enlist the help of social media to get him in contact with his family.”
In a recent update on Facebook, Medhaug wrote: “I want to send out a huge thank you for the heartfelt support that Laredo has given to Jose and his family, during hard times, it makes you feel good that so many people are willing to reach out."
According to the Iowa man, Jose Ayala’s family are currently making plans to travel to Iowa to meet Ayala and Medhaug. Due to coronavirus restrictions in place at the hospital, it's hard to say if they'll be able to meet the two.
Medhaug said that he'll continue posting Ayala’s updates on his personal Facebook page for those who are following the progress.