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'This virus is serious.' Southern Indiana pastor, his mother, and sister die from COVID-19 in one week

Pastor Jim Applegate died from COVID-19 Dec. 20. The virus took his mother's life twelve hours after his death, and on Christmas Eve his sister died from the virus.

CAMPBELLSBURG, Ind. — COVID-19 has taken aim at one Southern Indiana family, forcing them to say goodbye to three members in just one week.

Pastor Jim Applegate was the first to die of the virus in that family on December 20. The 54-year-old has pastored at Westview Christian Church in Campbellsburg, Indiana for 21 years.

"My dad has taught me to be strong and put my faith in Jesus and that's what I'm doing," youth minister at Westview Christian Church and Pastor Jim Applegate's son, Nicholas Applegate said. 

The virus took the pastor's mother's life, Pat Applegate, twelve hours after his death. On Christmas Eve, the pastor's sister 59-year-old MaryJane Applegate died from this virus.

"The thing that's keeping me going is hope and it's hope in Jesus because I know where they're at," Nicholas Applegate said. "The first few weeks in December our community had seen a lot of COVID cases especially here in our church family and in my family alone COVID has went through our entire family."

Nicholas's uncle is currently fighting off the virus but he's expected to be okay. Nicholas said at one point he and several of his family members had tested positive. 

"The only thing I had wrong with me is that I lost my taste and that was it," Nicholas Applegate said. "This virus is so tricky."  

When his dad ended up in the hospital Nicholas said he knew he wasn't going to come home.

"He had double pneumonia in both lungs, my dad's kidneys ultimately shut down and that's what took my dad's life," he said. "My dad was known so well in this community...church members would tell me that 'your dad was at every birth for my child, every funeral that we had a death in the family' dad was always there."

Even though they couldn't be there in person, Nicholas said thousands tuned in online for his father's final farewell service. When we talked to him, he was heading to bury his 82-year-old grandmother. 

After losing three family members Nicholas wanted to share this message to raise awareness

"This virus is serious and there was a time when I didn’t think it was and it is," he said. "It is very serious and people need to take precautions and just be safe and you need to try to listen to what the doctors are saying and what the professionals are wanting us to do."