37-year-old Port Clinton war vet dies from COVID-19 complications on Fourth of July

Richard Rose in April posted on Facebook that he would not wear a mask. He passed away due to COVID-19 three months later.
Updated: Jul. 11, 2020 at 7:58 AM EDT
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PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WOIO) - Richard Rose was only 37 years old when he died at his home from complications due to COVID-19. He was born and raised in Port Clinton.

Those who knew Rose described him as kind, funny, and caring.

His family said he was very active in helping homeless vets and in preventing veteran suicide.

The Port Clinton man served in the U.S. Army for nine years and did two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He died at his home from complications related to COVID-19 on the Fourth of July.

“We were blown away, you know? You hear about this virus and you don’t expect it to affect people, younger people like ourselves,” said Nick Conley, who was Rose’s friend.

Conley met Rose through a shared love of video games. He is crushed that he lost his friend to this virus, but he’s also hurt by something Rose posted on Facebook back in April.

That post has now been shared more than 10,000 times. It reads, “Let’s make this clear. I’m not buying a mask. I’ve made it this far by not buying into that damn hype.”

“Rick is getting slaughtered online right now for his decision that he made not to wear a mask and that’s not right,” Conley said. “We should still be compassionate whether we agree with someone’s beliefs or not. Someone has passed away and we should have some compassion towards that.”

Rose’s family said he tested positive for COVID-19 on July 1 and died just three days later. Rose’s family said he had no known pre-existing health conditions.

“It’s horrible that we lost Rick but the even more tragic part of that is who else became infected because of the actions that he chose,” Conley said.

Conley hopes his friend’s death will serve as a warning to others.

“I know a lot of people that haven’t met someone that they know of that has been diagnosed with the virus and I wanted people to see it was real and my hope is that people will see that this does happen and people will be more cautious,” he said.

*EDITORIAL NOTE: The subheadline was incorrect. We apologize for the error. The correction has been made.*

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