BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Numbers don’t put a face on the thousands who’ve died of COVID-19 in Missouri or the grief their families are left to face.
It’s something one family in Blue Springs knows first hand. The coronavirus stole Crystal Derringer’s husband, Aaron Derringer. He was 41 when he died on Nov. 21.
Jennifer Needs is a family friend of 20-plus years. She read a letter Crystal wrote to the community.
“I never thought I’d have to read something like that,” Needs said. “So it’s, it’s hard.”
Aaron tested positive in late October, experiencing symptoms like exhaustion and fatigue. But feeling better after a couple weeks, he was gearing up to return to work.
“Literally, overnight things changed for the worse,” Needs said.
Aaron was found unresponsive and rushed to the hospital where he later died.
“Unfortunately, Aaron never made it back home for his family,” Needs said, crying. “We want to bring awareness to our community and beyond of just how real, scary and deadly this virus is.”
Aaron was a father of four, soon to be five. Crystal and Aaron were working to adopt his teenage niece.
“He’s everything to her. The closest thing to a father,” Needs said. “It just goes to show, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for somebody.”
Family remember his incredible work ethic. He was a local car salesman who took every precaution he could to stay safe.
“Aaron always had his mask,” Needs said. “Every time I turned around he was putting hand sanitizer on. He wasn’t getting real close with anybody.”
Needs described Aaron as a teddy bear, who loved kids and lived for his family — something she’ll miss most about her dear friend.
“Seeing how he lit up when anybody mentioned any of his children,” Needs said.
“I’m going to miss him not making any kind of eye contact with me because he was always staring at his wife because that’s the love that they had,” Needs said. “She was everything to him, so I’m going to miss that.”
They now plead for people to take this virus seriously.
“Just be vigilant, wash your hands, wear your mask, keep your distance,” Needs said, “and know that one day we’ll all be able to hug and love each other and be close again.”
A gofundme page has been set up to help Crystal and her five kids.