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Georgetown woman shares emotional story of losing her grandfather to COVID-19

Published: Sep. 6, 2020 at 4:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2020 at 5:11 AM EDT
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GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky is approaching 1,000 total COVID-related deaths. While the governor announces the numbers every day, Kentuckians rarely see the faces behind the virus.

An 80-year-old man from Scott County was added to the growing list on Friday. His name is James Randall Lewis.

“When you see it first hand, it definitely will change your perspective a little bit,” Taber Walls said. She watched as her grandpa became a statistic. Lewis was also the sixth Dover Manor resident to die from COVID-19.

“He was a truck driver so the stories he had, the places that he been, the places he had seen. You could just sit down and listen to him for hours just talk about it,” she recalled.

Walls says she’ll always remember how he danced at her wedding. Sadly, she’ll also remember pressing her face against the window of the ICU room while dressed from head-to-toe in PPE. Lewis was on a ventilator.

“Watching my grandmother try to say her goodbyes to my grandfather in that way was very, very hard because it’s just no way that any one would ever think that you would have to,” she said.

The virus claimed Lewis’s life in 15 days. While he had preexisting conditions, Walls points out most people have family members who are also vulnerable. That’s why everyone should take precautions.

“If I could save some other family from having to see your loved one the way that I saw my grandfather… Oh I would do it in a heartbeat,” she said while holding back tears.

Walls hopes her grandfather’s story makes a difference. She wants people to understand the pain that almost 1,000 other Kentucky families feel.

Reports show more than 90 cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to Dover Manor in Georgetown.

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