93-year-old Navy veteran dies of coronavirus after refusing ventilator to save others, family say

Coronavirus may be testing our faith and the limits of our ability to maintain order amongst chaos, but if there’s one thing that’s become abundantly clear over the last few weeks, it’s that there are a lot of heroes out there.

Some are nurses and doctors, some are truck drivers ferrying supplies all over the country, some are simply people who are doing their best to motive others to stay positive now that the chips are down. And some, sadly, are those who are giving their very lives to try and help others.

93-year-old Roger Lehne, a Navy veteran, died on Thursday, March 26, at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Fargo from complications relating to COVID-19.

Lehne, of North Dakota, declined to be put on a ventilator. His family say this was because he likely wanted to save others.

Niece Julie LaVoy said her uncle had refused the ventilator and taken charge of his own destiny instead.

“He showed us all how to live, and he absolutely showed us dignity at death, too,” she said, as per reports.

Lehne’s 84-year-old wife, Teresa, has also been hospitalized with coronavirus. She and other family members couldn’t be with Roger when he died, for fear of the virus spreading.

“I had to Facetime with her (Teresa Lehne) and tell her that her beloved husband of 60-plus years had passed away,” LaVoy explained. “You hear about coronavirus out there, and you feel bad for everybody. But I had not even considered how families were going to be separated and left alone, not being able to be with their loved ones at the end of life. It’s heartbreaking.”

Lehne was born March 26, 1927 in Audubon, Minn. He enlisted in the Navy aged 17 toward the end of World War II and, though he wasn’t deployed, served as a medic.

Rest in peace, Roger Lehne, and thank you for your service. Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones at this time.

We must all pull together during these troubling times, both to stay safe and to remind one another that we can come through this.

Share this article to show your support for all the families the world over affected by coronavirus.