GERMANTOWN — A Germantown man lost his battle to COVID-19 at the age of 44. Brad Jere died last week after a long stay in the hospital, leaving behind a wife and young kids. Brad’s family says he had no underlying health conditions.
Brad’s wife Jessica says they still do not know how he was exposed to the virus at the beginning of August. He was taken to the hospital about a week later where he ultimately took his last breath.
Jessica says her husband was in the prime of his life. He had just founded a church, was in the process of opening a new business, and most importantly, he was being the best father he could be for his daughter and two sons.
Jessica says everything changed when he was rushed to the hospital with coronavirus. From there, his symptoms continued to worsen.
“About two weeks in then, he was not in isolation anymore so then I was able to go and visit with him. But by that time he was already fully sedated, they had him paralyzed, they had him hooked up to a ventilator,” she said. “It was extremely painful. I just keep going back to not being able to have that last chance to really talk and communicate - I think was really hard.”
After a month in the intensive care unit, Brad was taken off life support to say his final goodbye to his wife.
“His last words besides saying, ‘I love you’ was he would want everybody to get vaccinated because he didn’t want anybody to experience what he was experiencing,” Jessica said.
Jessica declined to share whether Brad was vaccinated, but she says she’s taking his advice and is in the process of getting vaccinated herself.
“It’s what everybody wants to know, and I think people want to know like this isn’t going to happen to them because he’s young, 44, no underlying health conditions and people want to kind of have a reason why it happened to him, and I think there really isn’t a reason,” she said.
Through the most challenging time in their lives, Jessica and her kids are finding strength through their faith while reflecting on their memories together.
“Just really holding onto that hope with our faith that he’s in heaven and isn’t suffering at all anymore and he has brand new lungs,” Jessica said. “He was color blind, but loved taking pictures, especially of sunsets. It was one of his many passions. So we talk a lot about that every time there’s a sunset, like awe, dad can actually see the real colors now.”
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Although Brad is no longer here, Jessica says her family is following through on his latest business venture by launching a cafe in downtown Menomonee Falls to create a gathering place in the community and a legacy for their loved one. A legacy that now also includes a message about the importance of getting vaccinated.
“He definitely had a heart for serving other people,” she said. “I mean, that was him through and through.”
Brad’s friends made a GoFundMe page to help his family pay for his medical expenses and to create a fund for his children’s future. If you would like to help, click here.