Thousands of Hoosiers have died since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020 and we know — they're more than just numbers. If you've lost a loved one to COVID-19 and want to share their story reach out to us at FacesOfCovid@wrtv.com.
KOKOMO — On Tuesday, community members came out for their final goodbyes to Kokomo Fire Department's Capt. Marty Meyers.
Meyers' death was considered a line-of-duty death because it is believed he contracted the virus while on the job.
Firefighters flanked the casket of their fallen brother giving him the send-off he deserved, but one that was much too soon for someone who was only 50 years old. As they lifted him onto a fire truck for a final ride through Kokomo, dozens of people had gathered along the procession route to see the send-off.
"It's just nice to see everybody come together and show their support," Karrie Bontrager, a manager at the gym where Meyers was a member, said. "You don't really realize until it hits so close. I don't know anybody personally that passed away up until this point, so it's very eye-opening."
"I wanted to show my support. I'm actually a 911 dispatcher, so I talk to these guys on regular basis," Megan Tenwinkel said. She said the pandemic turned what were typical medical calls into calls where extreme caution had to be used. That was done to try and avoid putting first responders at risk for catching the virus.
"These engines respond to every medical call. For those kinds of calls, difficulty breathing, chest pain, fever, coughing things like that, we always have to ask if they've been exposed to the COVID-19 virus," Tenwinkel said.
Like so many COVID-19 related deaths, it's hard to know when a person contracted the virus. However, from the show of support from the community, it's clear to see that Meyers' death will be felt for a long time.