SAND LAKE (WRGB) - Bruce Sowalski of Sand Lake is one of the many who was taken too soon by the Coronavirus. He died on April 2, 2020 at the age of 68.
CBS6 spoke with Bruce's wife Lorraine about the virus' impact. She said it all happened so fast. It started as a cold, but he soon had a fever, chills, a cough, and shortness of breath.
"I witnessed first hand, my husband, going from someone who was healthy, to everyday having more and more symptoms that were pointing to COVID-19," Bruce's wife Lorraine Ferguson said. "And just that feeling of, this cant possibly be happening."
Bruce was admitted to the hospital on March 27th, and put on a ventilator 2 days later. A long time lung condition put him at higher risk.
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Lorraine last spoke to Bruce quickly on March 29th. "It was a conversation where we said 'I love you' and at that point the phone was handed back to the doctor, and the process began."
Bruce died four days later on April 2nd at the age of 68.
Lorraine was the love of Bruce's life. They met in the Albany area when Bruce was in his early 30s, and she in her late 20s. "We met through a very good friend of ours, and it was magic right away." Lorraine said.
She said he was compassionate and had a great sense of humor. "He was an every day guy, but he had that piece of him that would just bring everyone together."
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She said they enjoyed the simple things in life together - going on walks, cooking, bird watching, and traveling the world!
Bruce loved animals, they had two cats, and frequently fostered cats through the Mohawk Hudson Humane Socieity.
Giving back is one of Bruce's biggest legacies - For the past 15 years Bruce volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul's food pantry in Albany, and has been on the board of The Food Pantries For the Capital District since 2011. He served as President from 2014-2016.
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Natasha Pernicka, the Executive Director for The Food Pantries For the Capital District said Bruce was a model board member, and always rolled up his sleeves to help. "He served on almost every committee, either chaired it or served on all of our committees," Natasha Pernicka said. "And every week he unloaded thousands of pounds of food from our box truck that was delivering orders from the food bank."
And he always brought it back to the Food Pantries' vision to help the community. In 2018, Bruce won the Sister Mary Coons Award.
"I really owe it to Bruce that The Food Pantries for the Capital District has grown to be the organization that it is today." Natasha said.
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Natasha knows Bruce's legacy will live on at the board meetings. She says he always asked a lot of good questions. Now they'll say to each other "What would Bruce say or ask?".
Lorraine hopes Bruce's passing will teach us all a lesson. "Let's use what happened to him as an example of how short life can be, and how important it is for you to think about what your values are in life and to follow your beliefs." Lorraine said. "And what can we do to make somebody else's day, every day? That's what Bruce did."
Lorraine urges everyone to stay home, because you never know if the virus will affect someone you love.