Union County school employee who lost mother-in-law to virus, now on ventilator

Community supports school employee on ventilator after contracting COVID-19

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — A community is coming together to support an employee at Poplin Elementary School who is on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19.

Friends Lynda Brown and Claudia Zapka dropped off flowers Wednesday at Melissa Bowman’s home.

[PAST COVERAGE: Local elementary school closing for 3 weeks after staff members test positive]

Content Continues Below

“(Just to) let her know that we are taking care of her family while she is getting healthy,” Zapka said.

Brown and Zapka said that at one point, Bowman and her mother-in-law were a few doors apart on the same floor at Novant Health Matthews getting treatment for COVID-19.

Bowman’s mother-in-law died.

“It’s just a horrible time for the whole family,” Brown said.

The Bowmans. Melissa Bowman (pictured second from the left) has been battling COVID-19 in the ICU.
The Bowmans. Melissa Bowman (pictured second from the left) has been battling COVID-19 in the ICU.

Bowman is in the ICU and her husband, who tested positive for COVID-19, is in quarantine at their home.

“She is just so wonderful,” Zapka said. “Full of life.”

Bowman and her friends met while working with the school system and they know how much she is appreciated at Poplin Elementary School in Union County.

>> Have questions about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Carolinas? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the pandemic -- CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

Brown and Zapka said Bowman’s joy shines on campus and she brightens everyone’s lives she meets. They are trying to give that glow back to her and her family.

“She lifts everybody up anytime there is a problem, and we just had to do this,” Zapka said.

They see themselves as delivering love to the Bowmans until they can greet their friend in person.

“The family has been hit hard, and we want to do what we can to help and show her our love and support for her like she has done for us,” Zapka said.

Bowman was still on a ventilator Wednesday, her friends told Channel 9.

Organizers of a GoFundMe page to help Bowman said they have raised their goal of $10,000.

Local elementary school closing for 3 weeks after staff members test positive