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Friends separated because of the coronavirus stay connected through letters

HOUSTON – A few kind words from a friend are helping a man recover from surgery at a time when many health care facilities are limiting visitors.

Thomas Dudley, 79, recently had a procedure done related to his spine. He is now spending time at a rehab facility in Houston.

“The last time I saw him in Florida I said I'll send you a letter a day Tommy,” said his friend, BobDeChellis.

Bob, 78, lives in New Jersey. He’s known Tom since middle school. Some of the letters are motivational, others include stories about the past. Bob said he sends them to Tom’s family in Houston.

“I get started and it hasn't stopped,” Bob said.

Family members said Tom does not have the coronavirus; however, some of his loved ones haven’t seen him in person for weeks because of the restrictions on visitation.

“The people in the hospital and other places held the phone for him while I'll read him letters from Bob,” said Tom’s wife, Patricia Dudley.

Patricia said a few kind words make a big difference.

“These letters from his best friend have been a God send,” Patricia said.

Bob used the letters to offer some words of wisdom to his friend during tough times.

“You've been through this before, just bear down. It's the only way you're going to get through it,” Bob said.

Tom’s wife said his recovery is far from over, so she’s expecting to receive a lot more letters.