Most folks who tangle with COVID-19 have mild symptoms. Many don't even know they had the virus. Still, others will never forget it – if they live to tell the tale, that is.

I had a bout with COVID in March. It was actually more of a slight disagreement. No punches were thrown. My symptoms were mild and I recovered fairly quickly. Others I know have been lucky and have been able to avoid the virus altogether.

To date, 581,000 Americans, including New Bedford Police Sergeant Mike Cassidy, were not so lucky. Sgt. Cassidy was a Marine. He volunteered to go and face America's enemies in the Middle East. He returned home and became a cop. For 30 years, Cassidy protected and defended the people of New Bedford. And then he contracted COVID. Sgt. Cassidy fought a valiant fight but in the end, it was COVID that was victorious.

My friend and colleague Chris McCarthy was Army. He was military police. He went through hell and back with COVID right alongside Sgt. Cassidy. Both men suffered immeasurable pain and misery at the hands of COVID. After three strokes and a heart attack brought on by COVID, Chris said he asked his doctors to let him die. They refused. Ultimately, he refused as well. Chris came out the other side alive, but barely.

COVID-19 is an insidious virus that preys upon the oldest and weakest among us. Sometimes young, healthy guys like Chris McCarthy and Sgt. Mike Cassidy are confronted with COVID. Sometimes it wins, sometimes it doesn't. Cassidy was no less of a man than McCarthy. The virus was just stronger. Chris McCarthy will tell you that luck and faith play a big role as well.

Sgt. Cassidy will be laid to rest on Tuesday. Chris McCarthy is working to put his life back together. Both men crossed paths with COVID. Only one survived.

Please keep Sgt. Cassidy and his family, and friends in your thoughts and prayers. And continue to pray for Chris. The power of prayer and positive thinking is amazing. Please pray also for all who have confronted this virus and continue to fight it. And pray for all of those on the frontline and in the labs who work to defeat COVID-19.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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