Dunmore Couple Shares COVID-19 Recovery Story

NOTE: The Dunmorean invited Dunmorean Dawn McGurl to write an account of her experience, along with her husband, Brian, with the COVID-19 virus, which they were exposed to in early March in New York City.. The couple has made a full recovery.

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Brian and Dawn McGurl are shown in a photo taken the night they were exposed to the COVID-19 in New York City.

By Dawn McGurl

The “luck of the Irish” was not with us in early March when my husband Brian McGurl and I traveled to NYC to attend the opening performance at Radio City Music Hall of the 25th Anniversary Tour of Riverdance. The show was spectacular, but the souvenir we brought back was not what we expected. Approximately five days later we both developed initial symptoms of COVID-19 and subsequently we both tested positive for the coronavirus.

We can trace where the exposure happened to an event we attended after the performance where the majority of those attending eventually became ill and tested positive for the virus.

While we were away, we realized we were in the epicenter of this virus that was about to explode in our country. 

When we returned home, we immediately self-quarantined, because although we were healthy and, to our knowledge, had not been in direct contact with anyone with the disease, we had been to an area that appeared to be an upcoming hot spot. We canceled our family “Parade Day” party and hunkered down. 

My husband Brian and I began to show signs of the virus about a week after exposure. The onset was rather mild for both of us. Actually we thought we were just being paranoid. 

My symptoms were worse than Brian’s were. He had a low fever for a couple days and felt like he had a cold – runny nose, slight cough, sore throat. Initially I developed a severe headache with fever, severe chills, body aches as well as a dry cough. 

Then I began to feel  better and was fever free for three days and then “it came back”! 

I redeveloped the fever and chills and lost my sense of taste and smell. We both have had some respiratory effects that have lingered for a few weeks now – tightness in the chest, fatigue and getting easily winded. The course of our virus journey lasted approximately five weeks. We are grateful that we were both able to fight this at home and consider ourselves fortunate when compared to others that have ended up in the hospital with much worse outcomes.

We are spending a good deal of our time at home praying for those who are sick and their families, praying for all the hospital workers, praying for those who are providing essential services at pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, banks, police, fire, public works and elsewhere. We cannot thank our personal doctors and healthcare providers enough for their care and concern throughout this event.

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The McGurls are shown during a happy, healthy time before COVID-19 virus hit. Both have now fully recovered.

We debated making our personal information public. We did so in the hope that it would impress on our community and our friends how important it is to STAY HOME! 

We know social distancing and staying home is a financial and personal hardship. I have lost all of my upcoming Costume Design contracts and Brian has had all of his band gigs canceled. We had a death in our family during this time and were not able to have a proper, normal funeral. We miss our children and friends too! 

We have been asked for advice as to what we can tell people about the virus. The best advice I can give is prevention and preparation. This virus is incredibly contagious and spreads quickly. Anyone can get it. 

Assume anytime you leave your home and enter a public place that someone probably has it. Wear a mask! Protect yourself and your family. Wash your hands. Sanitize. Social distance and be patient. Prepare yourself and your family in the event you do contract the virus. 

Make sure to have a working thermometer, Tylenol, Gatorade or other electrolyte rich beverages, and household disinfectants to keep your home as clean as possible. Keep your lungs healthy now, exercise and eat well. 

This too shall pass and you need to be alive to enjoy the future when “happy days are here again! “

We want to thank all of our family and friends for the cards, messages, gifts, meals, prayers and love and support during this difficult time.

We have both had follow up medical tests and are fully recovered. We plan to donate our plasma, if we have antibodies, in the hope of helping others fight this virus in the future. Our prayers will continue that we will soon see healthy and happier days! #DunmoreStrong

Dunmoreans of the Month: Brian and Dawn McGurl

Dunmoreans of the Month - CREDIT RICH BANICK

© Rich Banick Photography

By Emily Fedor

It’s show time once again for members of the Dunmore High School Crimson Company. In the coming days, the cast and crew will present the final showings of their spring production “Beehive: The 60’s Musical.”

On Saturday, the curtain will fall for one last time marking the end of not just another successful show and season for this drama club, but also the end of an era.

Brian and Dawn McGurl took over as drama club directors all the way back in 2005.

“Beehive” will be the 32nd show produced under their leadership, and it will be their last.

“We were back and forth with it, but it’s time,” Dawn said.

“When I started I was 45 years old. I’m 60 now,” Brian said with a chuckle. “Climbing up ten foot ladders and climbing on the catwalk, that’s not as much fun as it used to be.”

“And lugging costumes,” Dawn chimed in. “It’s a lot of work.”

The choice to step back from the drama club was sparked by another big decision.

Brian has taught seventh grade geography at the Dunmore Middle School for more than 30 years. He has decided to retire at the end of this school year.

The district would have allowed the McGurls to stay on with the Crimson Company, but Brian said he believes the club should be led by a teacher.

“The part of this that is the best part is that you’re extending the classroom,” he said.

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© Rich Banick Photography

Brian and Dawn will look back on these years fondly, saying they’ve left everything they have to offer on the auditorium stage.

Over the last 14 years, the two have brought upon several big changes that have transformed this program into quite a showstopper.

When the McGurls first took over, the club only put on one play a year for only one week.

Now, each Crimson Company season features a straight play in the fall and a musical in the spring, and each production spans two weekends. Another big change to the schedule is the newly added Sunday matinee.

Brian and Dawn also helped secure funding to purchase new curtains, a new sound system, microphones and more. Their most recent project involved building a new sound booth in the back of the auditorium a major game changer for the club’s crew members.

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© Rich Banick Photography

“This is a sports town, but in the time that we’ve been here, we’ve made great strides in pushing the arts to the fore and making it as important as sports,” Dawn said. “I think that’s one of the things we’re most proud of.”

While they are excited to spend more time with family and friends and enjoying other aspects of life, Brian and Dawn say they will miss their days in the auditorium and people they shared those days with the people who have become like a second family to them.

“One of the great parts of this is the friendships we develop,” Brian said with a smile. “As our students get older, we have all these friends now.”

“I’m going to miss seeing that freshman come out, and just seeing the growth by the time they’re a senior. It’s so rewarding,” Dawn said. “The impact that this can have on a person’s life is just awesome.”

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© Rich Banick Photography

Of course, as one chapter comes to an end, another must begin.

During the next school year, the Crimson Company is set to present two shows — an original work in the fall and the Charles M. Schulz inspired musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in the spring.

As far as who will fill the McGurls’ shoes, someone has expressed interest in taking charge of the Crimson Company.

But as far as who that someone is, the Dunmorean is sworn to secrecy until the school board gives its final approval.

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“Beehive: The 60’s Musical” continues this week with performances on April 3, 4, 5 and 6 at 7:00 p.m. each evening inside the DHS Auditorium. Tickets will be $10 for adults; $8 for students/seniors, and $5 for children under five.

Crimson Company Takes on Shakespeare in “As You Like It”

Crimson Co. Fall Play - PosterUPDATE: Due to the Dunmore Buck’s recent win on the football field, the performance schedule for As You Like It has been adjusted.

Shows will now only take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (November 14th, 15th and 16th) at 7PM.

There will be no matinee or evening performance on Saturday, November 17th.

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Shakespeare’s comedy of love and laughter comes to the Dunmore High School auditorium stage later this month.

The Crimson Company will present As You Like It on November 14, 15, 16 and 17. Curtain rises at 7 p.m. sharp each evening. On Saturday, November 17th, the cast and crew will also take the stage for a 1 p.m. matinee.

Tickets cost $10.00 for adults, $8.00 for students and seniors, and $5.00 for children under the age of five.

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Forced into exile in the Forest of Arden, Rosalind and Orlando become entangled in a beguiling game of love and mistaken identity that turns traditional rules of romance upside down. Disguises and secrets get in the way of true love and result in hilarious love triangles that only a ‘magical transformation’ can fix.

A firm favorite among Shakespeare’s comedies, As You Like It has some of the bard’s best loved characters, pastoral romance, love notes, music, satire, slapstick, passion and even the famous “All the World’s a Stage” soliloquy.

This will be the final fall Crimson Company production under the direction of Brian McGurl.

Crimson Co. Fall Play - Brian & Dawn McGurlBrian, an 7th grade geography teacher, will retire as both an educator and Crimson Company director at the end of this school year.

He and his wife Dawn have spearheaded the high school drama club since 2005.

Brian and Dawn will take their final bow following the run of the Crimson Company’s spring production, “Beehive: The 60’s Musical.”

Members of the cast for As You Like It are as follows: Kaitlin Ahern, Ben Amaya, Matthew Behler, Patrick Burke, Lily Conboy, Ariana Costanzi, Colby DeSando, Madison Eagen, Raj Gandhi, Ian Gratkowski, Sam Hanna, Louis Hanni, Julia Ingargiola, Brigid King, Ally McNeff, Jake McNeff, Julia Pasko, Bell Pendon, Marquette Pendon and Isabella Stanco.

Stage managers for this production are Spencer Asman and Max Burke.