Ultimately, The Brave of Heart Fund delivered financial relief to 909 families of deceased frontline healthcare workers, whose lives were lost in the fight against COVID-19.

Collectively, these healthcare workers were primary wage earners and caretakers, parents and grandparents, children and siblings. Individually, they are souls now absent in our world – and whose memories we wish to honor.

These stories are a small sampling of the people our grantee families lost, told by the people who knew and loved them most.

Audrey Ellis

Transplant Nurse


“Audrey Ellis was a treasured twin sister, daughter, granddaughter and proud unselfish nurse providing healthcare and comfort to those in need. She loved her family, the ocean, the mountains, yoga, travel and holistic healing practices. Her belly laugh, hugs, big green eyes and heart of gold are forever with us. She was right there on the healthcare front lines of this pandemic but is now answering a much greater calling.”  

Scott Ellis

Audrey’s Father

Clea Alverio-Hume

Medical Records Director


“Clea worked at the same skilled nursing facility for 26 years. Since she passed, we’ve received hundreds of notes from colleagues and friends who admired what a determined and giving person she was. With assistance from the Brave of Heart Fund for medical and funeral bills, it allows us to do the more important work of remembering and healing.”

David Hume

Clea’s Husband

Clearance Lovell

Community Health Volunteer


“My dad was a visionary for health, education, and public service. He was a Volunteer and Public Servant who advocated for the health needs of poor and rural underserved populations in the State of Arkansas for over 30 years. He taught us that it is our duty to help others in need and to serve our community every day.”

Delia Lovell

Clearance’s Daughter

Glovis Foster

Flight Paramedic

New Mexico

“My father served San Juan County for 24 years as a flight paramedic and the New Mexico Army National Guard for 16 years. Anyone that knew my father can tell you how caring and compassionate he was. I miss him every single day. Thank you, Brave of Heart Fund, for honoring everyday heroes who have given their lives in this unpredictable time and line of work.”

Shanitra Foster

Glovis’s Daughter

Israel Tolentino

Firefighter / EMT

New Jersey

“Israel loved our community, he spent his life in service to help others. He always brought so much joy and commitment to whatever he was doing.”

Maria Vazquez

Israel’s Wife

Jeff Guernsey

Firefighter / EMT


“I had never met anyone who loved his job as much as Jeff Guernsey did. Jeff worked for Washington Township Fire Department for 30 years where he was a lieutenant. We were married for over 17 wonderful years and were best friends with four amazing children and two grandchildren. He lived life to the fullest and inspired us to do the same. We miss him terribly and we will make sure his legacy lives on forever.”

Jennifer Guernsey

Jeff’s Wife

Jeffrey Schaffer

Volunteer EMT


“My husband was a proud, honorable, witty man who dedicated his life to Emergency Medical Services. His passion in life, besides his family, was helping others.  It’s unbelievably difficult not having him here with us, however, I am extremely proud of the man he was and the impact he had on the lives of so many.” 

Deborah Schaffer

Jeffrey’s Wife

Joe Sykora



“Joe was the love of my life for 30 years. He was a loved father, husband, son and grandfather. Joe committed 40 years to serving others. He served as a police officer, paramedic, and firefighter in his early years. The last 15 years of his career he served in the nursing profession caring for those with heart conditions. He had a huge heart and would give his life over again to save another’s. That’s the man he was.”

Vicki Sykora

Joe’s Wife

Maurice "Tony" Carter

Patient Transporter

New York

“Maurice ‘Tony’ was a health care worker and defensive football coach for over 30 years.  He was the epitome of a humble man with character, sacrificing for his family’s needs above his own.  Tony was an avid reader and loved making a difference in the lives of others.”

Yolanda Carter

Tony’s Wife

Michael Field

Firefighter / Volunteer EMT

New York

“Even when faced with an unknown pandemic, he answered calls and alarms, and went above the call of duty. It was not how he died that made him a hero, but the life he lived.”

First Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Scanlon

Michael’s Supervisor

Mohammed Jawed



“Dr. Jawed was a devoted physician who took pride in his work for over 25 years. In addition to being a knowledgeable doctor, his calm nature was always comforting to patients. Beyond that, he was a loving father and an outstanding member of his community.”

Mohammed’s Family

Pamela Orlando


New York

“No matter how tough life could get, my mother always picked her feet up and continued to move forward. If she saw something in you, she would tell you and make you feel special. My mother’s life revolved around saving lives, and letting people know their lives mattered. She was a special woman who was loved by so many.”

Reid Orlando

Pamela’s Son

Rosa Luna

Environmental Services


“Rosa Luna was a super mom. Everything she did was for family. She absolutely adored her grandchildren and loved spending time with them. She was an avid gardener. She loved all kinds of music. She was a warrior that battled through life with love.”

Dora Reaza

Rosa’s Daughter

Sandy Bean



“Mom had a big heart and loved caring for everyone. If anyone asked for advice on anything, mom would say pray about it. Her faith was strong and her heart was big.” 

Shauna Hackler

Sandy’s Daughter

Tara Pendergrass

Nursing Home CNA

North Carolina

“Tara was a sweet and caring person that loved life so much. She enjoyed spending time with her family and friends. Tara enjoyed working with her elderly residents and understood the risks of contracting COVID on the job, but continued working throughout the pandemic anyway. She was always doing special things for them. When my Sweet Baby Girl passed away, all of the warm messages that the family received proved how many hearts she touched in her short 29 years.”

Jennifer Pendergrass

Tara’s Mother

Thong Minh Nguyen

EKG Technician


“Our father was an incredible example of human kindness and the hardest working honest man we’ll ever know.  His heart was full of love not only for his family and friends, but for strangers as well. He loved his job and dedicated almost 35 years working as a Cardiovascular Technician. Heaven gained a Saint when we lost him a month before his 74th birthday.”

Dinh Kozuki

Thong’s Daughter