“[The Spaulding staff] are the ones who put it on for us and they really did make it more special than anything we could’ve dreamed up for ourselves,” Greene said Wednesday.
“I would’ve never imagined a wedding like this before, and for them to put that on for us was truly, truly amazing,” Herwath said. “It made our day so special.”
Herwath and Greene approached hospital staff with the idea of being married there about a week ago, asking that the wedding be held as soon as possible. Staff across the hospital rallied to make the couple’s special day possible, and three local businesses — Cut Splice Boston, Salon D’Elegance in Wayland, and Junebug Flowers of Charlestown — chipped in with products for hair and makeup and floral arrangements, hospital officials said.
“We’re going to be in Boston for a long time,” Herwath said. “That’s why we decided to get married now, because we just know how much we love each other.”
Herwath and Greene described themselves as the “weirdos” of their families and said the untraditional wedding fits their nature.
“We’re not traditional people,” Greene said.
The couple has been together for almost four years after meeting at a pizza shop where they worked in Tampa, Fla.
They decided to uproot their life and move to Vermont after realizing how unhappy they were working minimum wage jobs at Chili’s.
“One day, I looked at her and I said, ‘Do want to move out of the state?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, absolutely,’” Herwath said. “So we decided. We just sold everything we had.”
“We were just eager to start fresh,” Greene said.
Spaulding Rehab Hospital
Their plans were quickly altered on April 22, when Herwath was injured on the third day of his new job as an assembler doing factory work. Greene had taken the same job, and the couple were in a van headed to work when it hit black ice and the driver lost control of the vehicle, causing the car to roll over.
Herwath said “it happened all so fast” and recalled the silence that followed a “big bang.” Greene punctured the silence with the words “I’m alive.” Herwath said he knew immediately that he had been paralyzed.
“I learned how short life can be and how you can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “I’m learning to slow down a little bit in my life and actually enjoy it.”
Herwath was taken to the University of Vermont Medical Centerand transferred to Spaulding in early May. Greene has been able to visit Herwath daily, thanks to a donor-funded special apartment next to the hospital, officials said.
Herwath, who was paralyzed from the neck down, is expected to be hospitalized for several more weeks as the staff at Spaulding work to “improve his function and plan for a safe discharge,” officials said.
Once he is released, the couple plans to move back to Vermont and resume their new life together.
“I can’t wait for that,” Herwath said.
The couple has set up a GoFundMe page to help with their return home.
Charlie McKenna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.