With the coronavirus pandemic entering its 18th month, most of us know at least one person who has succumbed to the virus. For many local residents that person is late former Franklin County Fiscal Court 3rd District Magistrate Don Sturgeon, who passed away from COVID-19 in mid-December of 2020.

When a loved one dies from COVID it is a different type of loss, explained Sturgeon’s daughter, Krista, who plans to launch a virtual peer-to-peer support group for Franklin Countians who have lost family or friends to the virus on Thursday, Sept. 16.

“You don’t get to see them. You can’t be with them,” she said of coronavirus patients. “The last time I saw my father, a nurse was nice enough to let me FaceTime. They were getting ready to take him off the ventilator. That wasn’t my father. It was my dad, but it wasn’t him.”

The group — which will be capped at 25 participants on a first come, first served basis — will meet on Zoom from 7-7:50 p.m. each Thursday for 10 weeks. She also hopes to add a second group after the first completes.

The idea is to help one another and the number one group rule is to be kind. Krista Sturgeon, a Frankfort native, has also devised a few other rules for the group — including no discussions on politics, no hating on any religion or spirituality and no gender or sexuality bashing.

Participants as young as 16 years old can join the group, but will need a signed consent by a parent or guardian.

“This is in honor of my father. I think this is what he would want me to do,” Krista Sturgeon told The State Journal. “When I decided to do this a few days ago I felt his presence. I knew this is what he would want me to do because this is what he did, help people.”

We couldn’t agree more. We believe “Sturge,” as he was commonly known around town, would be proud of his daughter’s efforts to help others and encourage those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 to consider participating in the group.

For more information or to sign up, email sturge2021@gmail.com

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