Wife of GRTC COVID-19 victim urges riders to follow health guidelines

Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 11:35 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Wednesday, the wife of a beloved GRTC bus driver who lost his battle with COVID-19 last week is speaking out for the first time since her husband died a month after contracting COVID-19. Tracey says even behind personal protective equipment riders could always recognize John Thrower’s smile when he swung by your GRTC bus stop.

“I just want to thank everybody for loving him the way I loved him,” Tracey said. “He’s a dedicated driver a loving husband, a loving grandfather and a loving father. He worked constantly, everyday overtime. He has never missed a day. He never called in sick when they called for him he comes.”

But his wife Tracey Thrower, says the job he loved so much may have also cost him his life.

“After working 14 days straight he caught the virus, he came home coughing. The next day he got a fever and after that, I took him to the hospital when his fever got up to 102, and that was the last time I was able to touch him,” Tracey said.

Tracey says John was admitted to the hospital Aug. 16 and after more than a month of fighting the disease, the five-year GRTC veteran was killed, that would end just a week ago alone in the hospital at just 49 years old, a COVID-19 death Tracey believes could have been prevented.

“They weren’t taking the same precautions, some people were taking their mask off, some people were sitting close to the driver, the buses were crowded,” Tracey said. “I don’t think they’re getting the message, the drivers are, but the public I don’t think they are getting the message.”

Instead of planning the rest of their lives together Tracey now plans John’s vigil, not just to celebrate and mourn the life of her husband, but as a desperate plea urging everyone, especially the thousands of individuals John served every day to protect essential workers by taking health guidelines seriously so that no one else has to experience her pain.

“I just want them to wear a mask, keep their hands sanitized and just be safe, and keep that distance because I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I just went through. I don’t want anyone to lose a loved one,” Tracey said. “So many people are out there that have it and people think it’s not real. They think it’s a hoax, but it’s not. My husband is gone. I had to bury him. People wake up. Wake up!”

John Throw's vigil will be held at Broad Rock Park Thursday at 5pm. The vigil is being...
John Throw's vigil will be held at Broad Rock Park Thursday at 5pm. The vigil is being organized by United Communities Against Crime.(NBC12)

John’s vigil is being organized by United Communities Against Crime and will be Thursday at the Broad Rock Sports Complex in Richmond at 5 p.m. A GRTC spokesperson also says they plan on honoring John’s life by running his name across the electronic GRTC banners in the coming days.

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