Former Fort Braden employee and mother of Jordan Byrd passes away from COVID-19

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A former Fort Braden employee has passed away from COVID-19; Jacqueline Byrd was the mother of 19-year-old Jordan Byrd, who passed away from COVID on July 18.

She is the third person connected to that school to die from coronavirus complications.

Byrd’s surviving son, Jacary, is mourning her death and his brother’s. He did not want to go on camera with WCTV, but said his mother was a person who cared for everyone and she will be missed.

Her caring nature is a sentiment that was echoed by former Fort Braden students. Byrd worked at the school for many years as an instructional aide, interacting with families and children.

Fort Braden graduate Ally Newman says Byrd would give her an extra boost.

"I remember in Kindergarten she used to take me out of class and we'd go into this room and do exercises, and it helped a lot," said Newman.

Elana Tober also has fond memories of Byrd.

"I actually remember like in the second grade I sprained my ankle and she made a point to personally walk me through the lunchline. She just cared about us so much," said Tober.

Leon County Commissioner and Fort Braden Principal Jimbo Jackson said he was not able to comment directly on Byrd’s death because she was a former employee, but says in the years he knew her, she was most proud of her two sons. He says she was excited that her son Jordan was furthering his education.

Leon County Schools also did not have an official comment on Byrd's death, but a spokesperson told WCTV they are heartbroken at the deaths in the Fort Braden community.

Members of the Fort Braden community say they're shocked at the COVID death toll.

“We all knew Ms. Byrd and we all knew Ms. Bradwell and we all knew Jordan. We all know each other. The fact that they’re all from the same family, and we’ve all known them for so long, is just really hard on everybody,” said Tober.

“I found out her son died and I was like oh my goodness, I grew up with this man. And then his girlfriend’s mom died, and it was like oh my gosh I knew her too. And now her and it’s like, wow this is really hitting home,” said Newman. “We’re all like family around here, everybody knows everybody.”

Newman and Tober say it’s a reminder of the severity of COVID.

"I have a sick grandmother at home so it definitely hits different. You've got to take more precautions," said Newman.

“Honestly, I cried about Ms. Byrd. I didn’t expect her to be next, I didn’t know she had COVID either,” said Tober. “It just shows that we really need to take this seriously.”

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