By Robbie Owens

SUNNYVALE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Just 13 miles from downtown Dallas, the small town of Sunnyvale credits ‘small-town values’ with helping them fight COVID.

“When we think about `what does that even mean’? It means caring about each other,” says Susan Guthrie, “it means coming together as a community and doing what we need to do to protect each other. ”

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Guthrie is both town manager and Sunnyvale citizen.  She says neighbors lost to Covid early in the pandemic helped galvanize the community to take precautions.

“We also have a very large medical community who live here in Sunnyvale, and they did a great job of talking to their neighbors and educating each other about what can you do to protect yourself.  And I think that went a long way,” says Guthrie.  “Because we’ve all been vaccinated, I think we trust each other that we’re all being careful.”

Medical experts say often that if our communities can enjoy anything resembling ‘normal’ right now, it’s thanks to those who have gotten vaccinated. And you’ll find no greater concentration of them, than in the Dallas County town of Sunnyvale.

“I think at this point we’re in the upper 90s in terms of the percentage of our residents who are vaccinated,” says Guthrie proudly.

In fact, according to data from the Dallas County Health Department, 97% of Sunnyvale residents have received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.

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“Hey! This may be a great town to sit down and socialize!” exclaims retired physician and transplant recipient Larry Stahl while enjoying an open airy courtyard near the city hall.  Dr. Stahl lives in nearby Forney and says the high vaccination numbers are a pleasant surprise– as his very survival requires being ‘Covid careful.’

“Everybody who is a transplantee does because we are all on anti-rejection drugs, makes us immune compromised, makes us more vulnerable,” explains Dr. Stahl.  “Also, the shot doesn’t work as well for us: but it does work, just not as much.”

Dr. Stahl says he has already received his third vaccine dose and is glad to be in good company in Sunnyvale.

“Getting back to normal is different now because we appreciate what we took for granted before,” says Guthrie, “and now we don’t take it for granted. We savor that.”


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