The young son of a New Jersey cop who died of COVID-19 asked his mom for only one gift for his 12th birthday Sunday — to get vaccinated.
Glen Ridge widow Alice Roberts revealed that her son made the request to honor his father, Charles, who died May 11, 2020, early on in the pandemic and before vaccines were available.
“My son turns 12 on Sunday. All he has asked for his birthday is a COVID-19 vaccine. You see, his father died of COVID-19 on May 11, 2020, and the pandemic has ruled all of our lives since March of 2020,’’ Alice wrote in a poignant column for NJ.com.
Roberts said her husband had been a “highly respected” community police officer and caught the virus while on the job.
While she and the kids were home with Charles, his heart stopped, and he collapsed, she said.
He was among at least 182 other officers who have suffered virus-related deaths and will have their names added to the National Law Enforcement Wall in Washington DC.
Roberts said the family plans to take a trip in October to attend a ceremony, in which his name will be unveiled.
“I think attending is important to help bring closure to my children and myself, and I know my husband would be so proud that his name is on the wall,” she wrote.
In opening up about her family’s grief, Roberts said she hopes to encourage others to join her son in getting vaccinated.
“By sharing my family’s experience, I hope my husband’s death and our story can help persuade others to do the most patriotic and selfless thing I can think of doing: Get a COVID-19 vaccine!” she wrote.
“That’s what my son will be doing this Sunday to celebrate his 12th birthday. It will be one he won’t forget.”