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Ken Squier getting boost from flood of get-well cards

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 12:30 PM EST
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WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Putting a famous name and face to the COVID-19 pandemic, a legend in the auto racing industry is resting and rehabbing from his bout with the virus. Scott Fleishman has the story of how Ken Squier is getting a boost to help him reach the finish line of recovery.

Radio station WDEV put out the call, and the people responded. Hundreds of get well wishes and memories flowed in for Hall of Fame broadcaster Ken Squier to read as he recovers from COVID-19.

“Reading all these, seeing where they’re all coming from, reading people’s stories that they’ve put in there, I think this is going to feed that part of him that just loves to get to know people,” said Ashley Squier, Ken’s daughter.

She says despite taking all the necessary precautions, the 85-year-old found out he was exposed to the virus and received a positive test result in mid-November. “For a while he just had mild symptoms. Then, all of the sudden he became so weak that he couldn’t support his own weight, couldn’t walk,” Ashley said. And it all happened in a 10-day span following the positive result. “It was so scary. I just wasn’t sure that he was going to survive because of how fast it turned.”

Remarkably, by late November, doctors believed Squier would make it through. After a couple of negative test results, he was moved from the hospital. “He is one of the more gregarious people I know, so he does not like to be shut away,” Ashley said.

As a way to pick up Squier’s spirits, his radio family at WDEV, asked people to mail cards and letters to the station, which would then get delivered to him. “Not only wish him good health and hopefully come back soon, but maybe a memory of Ken. Tell us a memory of Ken. It could be NASCAR, it could be Thunder Road, WDEV, whatever,” said the station’s Steve Cormier:

“I know that my dad is not so technologically savvy, but he is certainly savvy with these cards, so I’m so excited because he can now share what I saw, which is this outpouring of love,” Ashley said.

The cards and letters have come from all corners of Squier’s life, from Vermonters to the world of auto racing, including a letter from the legendary Andretti family. They were delivered to Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing in Berlin. It’s where Squier is recovering from COVID. When he got shingles a couple of years ago, he came there as well and Ashley says the staff treated him great. “This is a tough virus and it took a lot out of him. It’s left him really frail. It’s left him not as cognitively solid as he was,” she said.

Governor Phil Scott and Ken Squier have a special connection through Thunder Road. The governor has been keeping in touch with the family to make sure Squier continues on the road to recovery. “I appreciate Ken’s courage in sharing his experience and helping Vermonters understand that this virus knows no boundaries and doesn’t discriminate,” Scott said in a statement.

“He was able to see that he could have an influence that could be life-saving, because he could say this is real, I have it. And then I hope that it can also help us all to reach out to each other and give each other support in the tough mental health crisis that we have because of COVID,” Ashley said.

A man known for broadcasting auto racing is using his voice these days to caution others, while getting a response that speaks volumes.

You can still mail any cards to: Ken Squier, c/o WDEV, 9 Stowe Street Waterbury VT 05676

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