Man Killed by Ebola Virus was Set to Visit Family in Minn. Next Month

Updated: 07/28/2014 4:38 PM
Created: 07/27/2014 7:25 PM
By: Josh Rosenthal

An unthinkable loss for a Minnesota family is a warning for the rest of us.

"I don't want all of this to be for nothing," said Decontee Sawyer, Patrick Sawyer's wife. "I have three girls who will never get to know their father."

Decontee says it's easy to think of Ebola as a problem on the other side of the world, but that's not entirely true.

Patrick planned on coming back to Minnesota in August for two of his daughters' birthdays. Those daughters go to school and day care, where they're surrounded by other Minnesotans.

"It's a global problem because Patrick could've easily come home with Ebola," Decontee said. "Easy. Easy. It's close, it's at our front door. It knocked down my front door."

Now, Decontee hopes her husband's death serves as a wake-up call. He was beloved by Minnesota's large Liberian community. This is a huge loss. But for Decontee, if it makes more people realize that the African Ebola outbreak could truly affect all of us, then her husband's death will not have been in vain.

"This can't happen anymore," she said. "I don't want any more families going through what I'm going through. So I pray, and then I'm ready to fight."

A memorial is being planned for Patrick here in Minnesota at the end of September. Details are still being worked out.

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