A lifesaving 93rd birthday present

Joliet resident vaccinated against COVID-19 the day he turned 93

James Ingram, a 10-year resident at Sunny Hill Nursing Home in Joliet, received the COVID-19 vaccine on his 93rd birthday.

The fact it happened Ingram’s birthday is coincidence – but the decision to receive it was 100% his.

Ingram, the father of seven (with five children still living), had told people for weeks that when the coronavirus vaccine came to Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County, he wanted to be first to get it, according to a news release from Will County.

So he did.

“He was so thrilled and honored to lead the way in the battle against COVID-19,” Margaret McDowell, administrator at the county-owned facility, said in the news release.

Ingram said it never crossed his mind not to get the vaccination. He said when it came to the vaccination “the quicker the better” since vaccinations offers reassurance, he said in the release.

“They give you a lease against disease,” Ingram said in the release.

McDowell said Ingram was one of 158 people who were vaccinated on Jan. 5. The state has contracted with local pharmacies to distribute the vaccine to long-term care facilities.

“This disease is still killing people isn’t it?” Ingram said in the release. “I’m not ready to die.”

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant called Ingram “a leader” and hopes more people will have the confidence to “roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated when it’s their turn,” she said in the release.

“Doing this on his 93rd birthday makes it more memorable,” Bertino-Tarrant added.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.