FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The family of a 29-year-old man who died from COVID-19 is speaking out, urging the public to get vaccinated, in a new video published by Washington Regional.
Caleb Reeves, a rancher in rural Northwest Arkansas, died in August after spending 30 days in the hospital with COVID-19, including 25 days unconscious on a ventilator.
His wife, Chasity Reeves, and brother, Curtis Reeves, are now speaking out, urging Arkansans to get the shot.
“I know with all the misinformation out there, it is really difficult to decide to get vaccinated or not,” Chasity Reeves said. “But I can assure you from this experience that it’s a much more difficult decision in your 20s and 30s to decide how you want to bury your spouse.”
Chasity Reeves said she and Caleb had discussed the vaccine and were thankful that it was available, but “we felt like we were way too young and way to healthy to have to worry about getting it.”
Caleb’s brother, Curtis, said many rural Arkansans may have a false sense of security against the virus due to the nature of where they live.
“I do think the rural communities don’t get the vaccine as much because we’re out on the farm,” he said. “We think we don’t go anywhere, but when you go to the gas station to get fuel, or you go to Walmart and you pass by somebody, or you go to church and you’re sitting one pew over…there’s a chance to be exposed to it.”
Chasity said Caleb first became ill on July 1, with minor symptoms,. A few days later, he passed out and went to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19. His condition deteriorated over the next week, and he was again forced to return to the hospital, his wife said.
“When I heard he was positive with COVID, I thought to myself he’d be okay, because of his age. I knew he wasn’t vaccinated, but I thought down in my heart that he’d be okay,” said Curtis Reeves. “When he was over there in the hospital by himself for those four or five days, he would FaceTime us, and you could see the sheer terror and panic in his eyes.”
Chasity says she was able to talk to and pray with Caleb before he was sedated and placed on the ventilator.
“It’s an extremely overwhelming experience to walk into a room with your very young, healthy husband and see him hooked up to dozens of machines and IVs,” Chasity Reeves said. “He literally was alive because of modern medicine keeping him alive, and these machines breathing for him.”
After Caleb’s death, his family held the service at Caleb’s “favorite place on Earth” — he and Chasity’s farm in rural Northwest Arkansas.
Caleb Reeves is remembered as “big teddy bear” who would help anybody.
“I want people to slow down and think. This is not a political discussion, this is a healthcare discussion,” said Curtis Reeves. “Turn off social media, turn off the news. Talk to your doctor. Ask the doctors and nurses that are in the hospital, day in and day out, dealing with this.”