Sharing The Messages They Leave Behind, Remembering Loved Ones This West Virginia Morning


On this West Virginia Morning, we remember and celebrate two individuals and the important messages they leave behind. Also, in this show, we bring you the latest coronavirus news in West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice said the state’s hospitalization rates are up 10 percent since Friday because of the coronavirus, and more than 6,800 people are currently active with the disease.

Rates are spiking in southern West Virginia where Justice said people are continuing to visit and bring the virus back from Myrtle Beach. Additionally, 31 people at a Princeton nursing home have now tested positive with 19 of them hospitalized. Two hospitals – Appalachian Regional in Beckley and Logan General are also experiencing outbreaks internally.

Justice said DHHR, the National Guard and FEMA are preparing for a continued spike in cases by preparing St. Francis Hospital in Charleston as a surge hospital with additional beds.

Despite the increase, Justice said West Virginia continues to have significantly lower rates of the virus than surrounding states.

More than 3,500 have died from COVID-19 in Kentucky and Indiana, according to state data on July 31. But these deaths are more than numbers. We learn about a man in Kentucky who died from the virus in April. His name was Lawrence Keene, and his daughter, Katie Keene Churchman, shares this remembrance of him.

If you have lost a family member or close friend to the coronavirus and would like to share their story, we would like to help. You can find more information here.

We’d like to remember another friend. He didn’t die from COVID-19, but “Eddie” Jackfert, a long-time resident of Wellsburg in Brooke County, recently passed away in a VA hospital in Tampa, Florida. He was a World War II veteran who helped create the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Museum.  

Jackfert enlisted in the Army Air Corps when he was 18, in September 1940. He became an aircraft mechanic for the Army Air Corps. Here’s a feature West Virginia Public Broadcasting produced a few years ago about him and the museum he helped launch in the Northern Panhandle.

That was World War II veteran Eddie Jackfert. He passed away Jul. 24. Since that story aired in 2013, there have been some developments at the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Museum. In 2015, officials from Mitsubishi Materials, a subsidiary of which Jackfert was forced to work for during the war, came to Wellsburg to publicly apologize to him and to make a $50,000 donation for educational programs offered by the museum. In 2017, construction began on a 4,500 square feet expansion which was completed and dedicated at the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Museum following year.

Jackfert is survived by his wife of 73 years, Henrietta Jackfert, as well as their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and their families. One of his grandsons is composer Matt Jackfert who composed the theme music for West Virginia Morning.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Listen to West Virginia Morning weekdays at 7:43 a.m. on WVPB Radio or subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode. #WVMorning