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Guard announces COVID-19 death of a civilian employee

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia National Guard announced the death of a civilian employee due to COVID-19.

During Friday’s press briefing with Governor Jim Justice, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer shared news of the death of Toney Colagrosso, from complications of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has impacted us. It hit us right in the face when we lost a civilian employee of the West Virginia National Guard, Toney Colagrosso to COVID-19,” Hoyer said at the press conference.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer

According to Hoyer, Colagrosso was a retired member of the National Guard, retired as a Master Sergeant/E-70, and had returned to work as a civilian employee with the Guard as a Tricare representative.

He lost his wife to cancer and that is part of the reason behind his rejoin to the Guard as a civilian, Hoyer stated.

Hoyer said he cared about West Virginians and it showed during his work.

“On a number of occasions, I can remember families who had young children childhood cancer who had insurance challenges in front of them. Tony took care of them and he spent all day and all night doing it,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer said the death is a reminder to take the precautions and guidelines seriously through the fight with the virus.

“I know we think sometimes that it is our right to not wear a mask or our right to not do this. I ask us to take exception to that and think about our responsibility to others.

“How we might, with not doing the proper things, we might not knowingly infect somebody,” he said.

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