La. congresswoman talks about loss of husband to COVID, encourages vaccination

Rep. Julia Letlow with her family and late husband Luke.
Rep. Julia Letlow with her family and late husband Luke.(Congresswoman Julia Letlow's Office)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 2:59 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 3:03 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE/Gray News) - It’s been nearly eight months since U.S. Rep. Julia Letlow lost her husband Luke Letlow to COVID-19 in December.

The representative for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District says the empty chair at the dinner table is a constant reminder of just how cruel this virus can be, KNOE-TV reported.

It’s also a reminder of his purpose.

“You know, Luke’s mission was to help people,” said Julia Letlow. “I think that would be a beautiful legacy. If his story saves one life, then me telling it is absolutely worth it.”

She said their ordeal started when her husband approached her and said he thought he was running a fever. What ensued in the next two weeks, became a nightmare.

“As a wife and as someone, you love your partner very deeply. It was horrific to watch Luke suffer and watch him struggle to breathe, and watch as the life drained from him every second of every day,” said Julia Letlow.

He spent Christmas in the Intensive Care Unit and was hoping to warn people about the dangers of the virus.

“You know while Luke was in the hospital, he felt so passionate about warning other people about how serious this virus was,” Julia Letlow said. “He actually wanted to hold a press conference in his hospital room once he got better.”

He would never get the chance to hold that press conference.

At 41 years old, just weeks before vaccines would be available, Luke Letlow succumbed to the virus despite having no known pre-existing conditions.

The representative said he was looking forward to taking the vaccine in order to end this “silent killer.”

“He was so excited to receive that vaccine,” said Julia Letlow. “I know he would have received it, just as I did.”

Before he got sick, the Letlows prayed for a vaccine. Now, she is hoping people will take the vaccine in his memory.

“And now that we have this amazing miraculous remedy that scientists have worked 24/7 at warp speed to develop for us to be able to have,” Julia Letlow said. “It’s just such an awesome option that we have to combat this silent killer.”

The congresswoman is hoping to shield other families from having to go through what her family has endured. Her kids, Jacqueline and Jeremiah, are now being forced to grow up without their father.

“One of the things I have read is this doesn’t really affect children,” said Julia Letlow. “My answer to that is: Yes it does. Children can get ill from COVID, but I would want you to think about the 1.1 million children across the globe that are staring at that empty seat when they go to dinner.”

The representative is also planning on introducing legislation to ensure people’s COVID stories are remembered in the Library of Congress.

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