Police officer dies from COVID-19 just 3 months after retirement

COVID-19 has cost and counted the lives of more than 575,000 Americans.
Those we have lost come from all walks of life and include the very people - first responders and medical personnel - who worked on the front lines. But the virus has also highlighted the differences in the US - which disproportionately weighs on color communities, the elderly, and the poor.
Every week, ABC News sheds light on several Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19. This week we introduce a police officer, a retired math teacher, and a 35-year-old woman whose husband has his own illness.
Benny Christiano
Benedetto "Benny" Christiano, who worked for the Bloomfield Police Department in New Jersey for 26 years, died three months after his retirement.
"Ben served that department for 26 years with Bravery Pride and Dedication until he made the decision in December 2020 to retire and move on to the next chapter of his life," the department said.
He died on March 2, 2021 at the age of 53.
Christiano is survived by his wife and daughter.
George Rowland
George Rowland, a retired math teacher in Union County, North Carolina, died on January 17, 2021, the ABC subsidiary WSOC reported.
Rowland is known for his fashion and passion for teaching, said WSOC, and he is "an amazing example for the kids in school," said school nurse Erin Moore.
Assistant Superintendent Tahira Stalberte told ABC News, "Union County public schools offer their condolences to the Rowland family and East Union Middle staff. He will be truly missed by his school family."
Rowland had also taught at the Asheville School for Boys, where, according to his obituary, he was the first black teacher and trainer.
"He touched many people's lives and will truly be missed," his obituary said.
Patty Sakal
Patty Sakal, a sign language interpreter for COVID-19 briefings in Hawaii, died in California on January 15, 2021, ABC San Diego subsidiary KGTV reported.
The mother of three and grandmother of two were 62 years old, KGTV said.
MORE: Chicago Comedian Among Country 570,000 COVID-19 Victims: "We're Gutted"
Both of Sakal's parents were deaf and she became a powerful advocate for the hearing impaired, one of her daughters, Andrea McFadden, told KGTV.
Her mother worked as a COVID-19 briefing interpreter because "she wanted to make sure they knew what was going on and would stay healthy," McFadden said.
"She was caring, creative, selfless and we miss her," she said.
Click here and here to read more victim stories.
The cop dies of COVID-19 just 3 months after the retirement was originally posted on abcnews.go.com

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