Faith Perritte, senior accountant at NHRMC, describes her father Thomas Simpson as a public servant to his country and community, but more importantly as a beloved, strong father. Faith lost her dad to COVID-19 on January 8, 2021, while he was in the NHRMC COVID-19 ICU.
“If I can change one person’s mind about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, if I can just help one person, then it’s worth sharing my story,” Perritte said.
Simpson, who died when he was only 68, was married to Faith’s mom, Debbie, for 47 years. He spent 21 years in the United States Navy and another 26 years working for NHRMC EMS. After retiring, he volunteered in the community, most recently at the Pender County Food Bank.
“People knew him here,” Perritte said, referring to her dad’s time with NHRMC EMS. “He loved it here. He just wanted to talk to everyone.”
Perritte is a strong advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine and credits much of her knowledge and understanding to the bi-weekly COVID-19 calls with Dr. West Paul. Last year, after becoming frustrated over all the false information being shared on social media, Perritte started a journey to educate herself and learn the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. Her family believed many of these false claims and didn’t take the necessary precautions. Perritte made it her mission to help educate her family and friends on the benefits of getting the vaccine. Unfortunately, before her dad was able to get the vaccine, he contracted COVID-19 from a young man he had been ministering to through his volunteer work.
The following weeks became a whirlwind, with her dad eventually ending up in the NHRMC COVID-19 ICU. Her worst fears came true on January 8 at 9:45 a.m., when her dad passed away.
Despite the intense pain of losing her dad, Perritte was moved by the extraordinary kindness of Sarah Silvers, RN, one of her dad’s nurses in the COVID-19 ICU. Silvers sat with Perritte’s dad for the last 45 minutes of his life. Perritte and her family could not be with Simpson while he was in the ICU, but they did make a video of themselves talking to him and sharing personal messages with him, with hopes of pumping him up so he could keep fighting the virus. Silvers played the video over and over for him while she sat with him so he could hear the voices of his loved ones in his final moments. Faith said “I don’t know how the nurses do it. The care they give to everyone day in and day out. I pray for Sarah every day.” Faith also recalls the extraordinary kindness of Karen Frye and Stephanie Snyder, who both helped her navigate the days following her father's passing.
Perritte is so grateful for the care that her dad received at NHRMC and said she wouldn’t have wanted him to be anywhere else. She feels blessed that he got the care that he deserved – the kind of care he gave others throughout his entire life.