LAKELAND, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said their final goodbyes to a deputy who passed away from COVID-19, but it’s leading to a push that could save lives.
Law-enforcement, family and friends came together to celebrate the life, of Deputy Christopher Broadhead.
“Law enforcement wasn’t a last-ditch effort or whimsical career choice for Chris. It was intentional and deliberate and maybe the greatest statement to his character,” said Jake Wren, Broadhead’s best friend.
The 32-year-old lost his battle with COVID-19 last week. It has not been disclosed whether Broadhead was vaccinated, but at his family’s request, a vaccine clinic was held following the memorial service, to get more shots in arms.
“I can tell you, I know a dozen or so people that have went and got the vaccine because of Chris,” said Lt. Tracy Smith.
Colleagues remembered Broadhead as being happy-go-lucky and loving his family fiercely. His best friend shared that he was an old soul, valued being a hero, and helping those in need.
According to the sheriff’s office, the 10-year veteran contracted COVID-19 while on duty. His death prompted Sheriff Grady Judd to urge residents, especially his deputies, to get vaccinated.
“It is my prayer that we never forget the man, who was selfless and genuinely intelligent. After all he had to be, he was a Florida Gator. And you know, I think if Chris were with us today, he’d look around the room and say get the vaccine,” said Judd.
Broadhead leaves behind a wife and five children.