Maggie Boris has seen the best and the worst of people in the last few weeks.
Last month, Boris lost her husband of 24 years, Mark, to coronavirus.
Mark, who was unvaccinated, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 31. At around the same time Maggie and their son, Brandon, who are vaccinated, also tested positive for the virus. In the weeks that followed, Mark was sent to the emergency room twice. The second time he returned to his Georgia home with an oxygen machine.
“We all got it and were at home. He was in a spare bedroom, and I went in to check him and I thought he was dead,” said Maggie.
Mark was admitted first to a small local hospital, then transferred to a larger facility in the Brunswick area, where he was intubated and ultimately passed away. Due to restrictions on visitors, Maggie only got a few minutes with her husband to say goodbye.
Her mother-in-law wasn’t even able to enter his room. She said her goodbyes through a glass pane.
Almost immediately after her husband was gone, Maggie said she started getting messages from people insulting her late husband, saying he deserved to die for refusing to get a vaccine.
“It was horrible,” she said of the hurtful activity online.
A soft spot for the underdog
Despite leaving Shelby years ago, Mark left an indelible mark on those who knew him. From 2006 – 2015 he served as a Shelby police officer and a detective.
“That was his dream job,” said Maggie.
While on the job, Mark was regarded for his ability to express compassion and empathy for those he came into contact with.
“Mark was involved with a lot of fundraisers for people. He had a real soft spot for the underdog, so to speak,” said Jeff Ledford, Shelby police chief.
Ledford said Mark was always among the first to volunteer for community events, fundraisers or food drives, and he helped organize more than his share of those events.
“Mark was just a good guy,” he said. “He had a very giving side which made him great at his job.”
Even though he no longer served the Shelby community, his kindness was repaid by it this summer.
While strangers on the internet were kicking Maggie while she was down, friends and family back in Shelby were going out of their way to lift the Boris family up.
When Mark was still in the hospital, Danyeal Emory of McAdenville, created a GoFundMe fundraiser for the Boris family.
“This is a Shelby family and even though they reside in Georgia now, they are family and they need us,” read the fundraiser.
To date, the effort has raised more than $5,400 for the family.
“I was surprised. A lot of people have made some very large donations,” said Maggie. “I am very appreciative and very blessed and very thankful for them.”
This is not the first time people in or around Shelby have stepped up for the Boris family. Years ago, the community rallied around one of Maggie and Mark’s sons, Markie, who suffered from heart disease, requiring him to undergo multiple open heart surgeries. Markie died in 2017.