‘The odds are not great’: Families anxious as COVID-19 cases grow at Spokane Veterans Home

SPOKANE, Wash. — They have served our country and survived wars, but now local veterans are fighting a different battle as the number of COVID-19 cases grows at the Spokane Veterans Home.

As of this writing, 12 people at the home, including one employee, have tested positive for COVID-19. One of them has already died.

“We just know how serious this is. And it’s out of our control,” says Darrin Truitt, whose father Leroy lives at the home. “It’s really scary, you know, because it is just a number and something on TV until it happens to you.”

Leroy enlisted in the army when he was 18 years old, fought in WWII, earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, then started a family.

“He never talked about the war when we were growing up and he never wanted me to go into the service either, because he didn’t want me to see the things that he saw,” says Darrin. “He saw things that nobody should ever see.”

Now 94 years old, Leroy is trapped in the Spokane Veterans Home, as the coronavirus spreads through the first floor, underneath his room.

“When, you know, you’re my dad’s age of 94 and a half, the odds are not great… So, it really makes us nervous,” says Darrin. “I think that’s the hardest part is that we don’t know the end and when we can see him. There might be a chance that we don’t get a chance to see him.”

As hard as it is to grapple with that possibility, Darrin says he finds comfort in knowing he is in good hands.

“I really feel like I couldn’t have picked a better place for my dad to be at,” he says. “There’s a lot of things that are out of our control and we can’t do much about it. But, what we do know is that the people who are down there — they have big hearts and I know that they’re scared, too for everything that’s going on… and they’re doing the best they can.”

Darrin says he got a call from the home earlier this week. When he answered, his dad was on the other line and the two got to talk over video for about 15 minutes. Despite everything, Darrin says his dad is in good spirits.