Putting a face to the name: Local families of COVID-19 victims share their stories

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- At the time of this report, more than 11,000 people in New Jersey have died of coronavirus complications. It's taken the lives of more than 5,300 Pennsylvanians and Delaware is closing in on 350 deaths.

This is the reality of the virus but it's important to remember, these are someone's family members and loved ones "not just numbers."

"It is very real. When it hits this close to home. When it is your mother or your father. It's real," said Wendy Reber of Reading, Pennsylvania.

Wendy Reber is still crushed and heartbroken. She lost her mom, 73-year-old Linda Wolf to COVID-19. Like in so many cases, a nurse on the front lines became a hero.

"She had a wonderful nurse that was able to do what we couldn't do and that was to be there. Holding her hand. Comforting her," said Reber.

Reber understands she's not alone. Over 100,000 people have died in this country to COVD-19. Thousands of those deaths are from right here in the tri-state area. They are not just numbers but real people loved ones, who are now gone. People like 58-year old Terrance Culbreath from Northeast Philadelphia.

RELATED: Latest coronavirus numbers for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware

"I think he would want to be remembered for the compassion that he had for everybody. He cared for everybody," said Leslie Culbreath of Northeast Philadelphia.

His wife Leslie, is still in disbelief. Culbreath was only 58-years-old. His wife says he was a religious, loving man, dedicated to the human services field and helping those with disabilities.

It was just hard. Someone is there and then all of a sudden they are gone and you can't even say goodbye. They are just gone," said Culbreath.

The stories are non stop. Sandy Nouragas says her 84-year-old mother, Temeh Ardelean was a victim.

'She was doing ok and then like it hit her, and it hit her quick and within 24 hours she was gone," said Sandy Nouragas from Atlantic County.

All these families urge the community to take this pandemic seriously and are hoping the death of their loved ones, will be a wake-up call to others.

"Be afraid. Please be afraid because I am afraid if people are not afraid, they are going to go out there again, and then it's going to start all over again," said Nouragas.

Unfortunately, we can't share every story of loos but all these families echo the same grief and they are all hoping for some normalcy soon and more importantly, a vaccine.


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