ATHENS, Ga. — Police in Athens have had to say good-bye to one of their own, after an officer died of COVID.
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department said that retired Lt. Richard Odum died Wednesday after a "courageous and long battle with COVID-19."
The department said Odom worked for them for more than 24 years of "dedicated service," before he retired in 2018 and began teaching again.
"Lt. Odum had a passion for teaching (and) mentoring many officers at the department," Athens-Clarke County Police shared on their Facebook page.
According to the department, Odum's last post was as a police academy instructor at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. They shared a link to his family's GoFundMe page created in his memory.
According to the page, Odum was admitted to the hospital Jan. 3 and on a ventilator before his death. He was remembered as a "hero and a champion" for his family. The department said it was not aware of funeral arrangements at this time.
So far during the pandemic, nearly 13,600 Georgians have died from the virus. While average cases and hospitalizations are trending down from their peak in January - though still higher than the summer surge - the daily death toll remains high, with an average of more than 100 people dying a day over the last two weeks.