SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Walton County Deputy Mellie Roberts got a call about a suspicious person outside the Grand Boulevard Health and Rehabilitation Center last Friday.
When Roberts got there, she saw Alyce Pace standing outside a window and speaking to her husband through the window.
She wasn’t allowed inside the nursing home because of COVID-19.
“Mellie asked me if they let me do that and I made it very clear it would be tough to get me to stop. I’d either do a lot of jail time or pay a lot of fines. Seeing him is just as important as talking to him,” Pace said.
Roberts said she felt helpless in the moment because she didn’t know what to do.
“A lot was going through my mind, what can I do to help her, because when we do put on this uniform we fix things, we’re supposed to fix and I did not know how to fix that,” Roberts said.
The touching moment between Roberts and Pace was caught on video by a ‘Live PD’ camera crew and it quickly went viral.
Walton County resident Philip Cryar saw the cable TV show and he wanted to help.
He decided to enlist the help of some businesses and donate hundreds of electronic tablets to the residents of the nursing home and their families so they could communicate with each other during this tough time.
“It’s so important to keep our elders in touch with each other,” Cryar said. “Everybody needs human connection, we all need to be able to touch each other and if we can’t touch each other we need to see each other physically.”
Pace even got a tablet of her own, so she can speak with her husband without having to stand outside his window. She said it means so much to her.
“Hadn’t seen him that close in a number of weeks, it kinda was, kinda special,” Pace said.
Cryar has also set up a GoFundMe so they can get even more tablets to those who need one to keep in contact with a loved one during this time.
Cryar hopes that other places will jump onboard with this idea so that people beyond the Panhandle can see their loved ones too.