Atoka trooper is remembered after losing fight to COVID-19

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:14 PM CDT
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ATOKA, Okla. (KXII) - An Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper is remembered after losing his fight to COVID-19 this past Saturday. Colleagues and loved ones share memories of Jeff Sewell and his final days.

“No matter what he knew where he was going. He knew he was either gonna go home here in Atoka or go home to be with the Lord," said Sewell’s daughter, Jenni Allen.

To his community, Captain Sewell was hardworking. But to his daughter, the 58-year-old was a kid at heart who loved his family.

“Fairness and humility are probably the two words that best describe him," said Jenni.

Sewell tested positive for COVID-19 on August 29th, and was hospitalized a week later.

“That was where he finished out his life," said Jenni.

They kept in touch with Sewell and doctors daily. They even thought he was improving, but then was diagnosed with MRSA (staph infection) in his lungs.

“Friday and even Saturday morning, the day of his death, he looked good, his numbers were good. He did have MRSA in his lungs, but I guess that the COVID had damaged, had left so much damage that it couldn’t be repaired," said Jenni.

His death even shocked doctors.

“They worked very, very hard to try to save him. I think like 41 minutes until we, you know, he wouldn’t have wanted all that," said Jenni.

His son-in-law, Trooper Tommy Allen worked alongside Sewell.

“That was one thing that he really was big on was going to church and serving the Lord and that’s just the kind of guy he was in the community," said Tommy.

Sewell worked out every morning and liked to run. He was very involved throughout the community, in the schools and with the Special Olympics. His family says he never missed an opportunity to volunteer.

“Everything about him was serving. It was either serving the Lord, serving his community or serving his state. And for us as the troopers to have someone that was as respected as he was and worked as hard as he did, it’s a great loss," said Scott Hampton with Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Hampton says Sewell is the first and so far the only Trooper to die from COVID in the state.

“It’s just heartbreaking to see someone so close to retiring, serving over 30 years for the state of Oklahoma and then to lose their life," said Hampton.

They are grateful to the community for loving their father as much as they did.

“Everyone in this community knows everyone and so it’s a very good place to live. He would be proud and he loved Atoka," said Jenni.

“He would drop whatever he was doing to help other people. We’re just gonna miss him. Everybody’s gonna miss him," said Tommy.

The funeral is scheduled for this Thursday, October 1st at 2:00 p.m. at the Atoka football field.

Copyright 2020 KXII. All rights reserved.

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