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'Beloved' GRTC bus operator dies from COVID-19 complications

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 16:26:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A "beloved" GRTC bus operator has died from COVID-19 complications, the transit company announced on Thursday.

John Thrower, 49, was admitted to a hospital on August 16 and died on September 23, 2020.

“Last night, I heard the heartbreaking news that John Thrower passed. He was a bright and beautiful soul, and I was always inspired by the positive light he cast here at GRTC. I mourn this tragic loss to our family and our community and extend my deepest condolences to his family and to all who knew him," said GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm.

Thrower, a GRTC bus Operator since January 5, 2015, leaves behind a wife and son.

GRTC says free counseling is available to all GRTC employees and their families through the GRTC’s Employee Assistance Program.

“This loss to GRTC hits directly into our hearts and reminds us all how deadly this disease can be, and how all of us are susceptible. We share in Mrs. Thrower’s grief," Timm said.

Thrower was GRTC's 19th of 22 reported COVID-19 cases and was last on duty at GRTC on August 15.

Timm says since the pandemic began, GRTC has continued to implement safety measures and precautions to keep their employees and riders as safe as possible without cutting off essential services.

"But the virus can be anywhere, anytime, unseen, and we are all at risk each time we step out of our homes and every time someone enters our businesses," said Timm. "Still, GRTC exists to serve our community’s essential mobility needs. John was proud to be a GRTC Operator, and he did everything he could to safely serve the public during this crisis while volunteering many hours and days of overtime to support the essential mobility needs of our community.”