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Bradenton community rallies to help family of nurse who died of COVID-19

Jeff Sales worked in the COVID unit of Blake Medical Center for the entirety of the pandemic...
Jeff Sales worked in the COVID unit of Blake Medical Center for the entirety of the pandemic before he suddenly succumbed to the virus. Now, patients and co-workers are coming forward to help his family the way he helped them.(Brayden Sales)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:41 PM EST

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Bradenton community is mourning after a beloved nurse died from the coronavirus.

Jeff Sales, who has worked at Blake Medical Center in the COVID unit for the entirety of the pandemic, died Friday after he caught the virus. Since then, the community has rallied around the family to raise money for his funeral.

Sales’ son Brayden spoke to ABC7 to talk about his legacy of kindness and caring.

“He changed so many lives that I honestly think he was so humble he didn’t even realize it,” Brayden said.

Jeff may not have realized it, but it’s crystal clear to his family that he’s touched lives everywhere he’s gone. The GoFundMe account raising money for the funeral has earned more than $22,000 in donations in just a few days.

The site is flooded with kind words from co-workers sharing how loving and kind Jeff was toward patients.

“We knew he was good with people because he loved us, but it wasn’t just us,” Brayden said. “He’d do it for anybody. And it’s really nice to hear that stuff.”

Brayden sales, seated in front of his father’s uniforms hung up in the family home, said his father Jeff was a wonderful man. The former army medic has wanted to save lives since he was a teen.

He was so dedicated to healthcare, he requested to work in the COVID unit, the ugliest side of the pandemic. Brayden said his work there took a toll on him.

“Being a COVID nurse gave him more PTSD than serving in Korea,” he said.

What’s more, Brayden said his father had a heart condition and knew that if he caught the virus, it would likely kill him. However, he went back into the COVID unit day after day because it was worth it to him for a chance to make a difference.

“He wanted to help as many people as he could,” Brayden said. “So, he wanted to be on the higher volume unit and take as many shifts as he can.”

Jeff is leaving behind a wife and four children. All of them are grieving, but his son says he couldn’t be more proud of his father.

“As hard as it is to say, I wouldn’t change it for the world and I know he wouldn’t either because that’s what he loved,” Brayden said. “And if he wasn’t doing what he loved, he wouldn’t have been happy.”

If you would also like to contribute to that GoFundMe, you can do so by clicking here.

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