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Florist offers roses for COVID-19 vaccines to honor late wife

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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ANDALUSIA, Ala. (WSFA) - Alan Cotton, owner of Alan Cotton’s Florist, is a man on a mission, armed with nothing more than a plea and a flower.

The longtime Andalusia florist lost his beloved wife of more than 40 years two weeks ago to COVID-19.

Andalusia florist Alan Cotton lost his beloved wife of more than 40 years two weeks ago to...
Andalusia florist Alan Cotton lost his beloved wife of more than 40 years two weeks ago to COVID-19.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

Angela South Cotton would have gladly taken the vaccine but was advised not to due to her history of allergies to certain medications, Alan Cotton said.

“In 10 days she had passed away,” he said.

That was a turning point for him - an aha moment to encourage everyone to get the shot.

An idea took root. He would offer a single white rose, which symbolizes hope, to anyone who would get the vaccine.

“In the flower business, flowers are our business, flowers were our livelihood, flowers were our life,” Alan Cotton said. “And so I thought why not a better way to honor Angie than a white rose. White was her favorite color.”

Andalusia florist Alan Cotton lost his beloved wife of more than 40 years two weeks ago to...
Andalusia florist Alan Cotton lost his beloved wife of more than 40 years two weeks ago to COVID-19.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

Thursday morning he brought a load of white roses to a vaccine clinic at Andalusia Health and placed them at the base of a portrait of his late wife.

“Here ya go,” he said to Debbie Skipper as he handed her a white rose moments after getting her first vaccine dose.

Debbie and John Skipper admitted they weren’t too keen on getting vaccinated before, but then they lost several friends to COVID-19, including Angela Cotton.

The Skippers believe what Alan Cotton is doing is astounding, novel and yet so simple.

“It’s Alan. It’s 100 percent Alan,” Debbie Skipper said.

Debbie Skipper hugs Alan Cotton after receiving her first COVID-19 vaccination.
Debbie Skipper hugs Alan Cotton after receiving her first COVID-19 vaccination.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

The Skippers left with their white roses in hand - no regrets, no looking back.

Alan Cotton has done two vaccination clinics and so far has given away more than 170 white roses.

More than 170 roses, meaning more than 170 people have gotten at least one shot just in the last week in Covington County.

He will continue to do all he can to help defeat the virus that took the love of his life.

Angela Cotton was 64 years old.

Alan Cotton started his floral business 45 years ago in Andalusia. His wife joined him three years later.

Copyright 2021 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.