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Wife Of TSA Screener Who Died Of COVID Urges People To 'Take This Seriously'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The wife of a Transportation Security Administration worker who died from COVID-19 complications is speaking out for the first time.

Gerald "Teddy" Girard, 67, died last week, just days after showing symptoms.

His wife, Terra Girard, feels out of tears for now.

"In this moment in time, I'm rather numb," Terra said.

She is dealing with the shock of losing her husband of 41 years.

"It was a total of nine days from the bad symptoms started happening. It was 9 days til he died," she said.

It was the beginning of the month when Terra says she didn't feel well.

"I actually thought maybe I had bronchitis with some extra stuff," she said.

Two days later, Teddy was in worse shape. Born with one kidney, her husband had diabetes and high blood pressure. Terra says both were in check as he had lost weight. But he had insisted on still working the job he had for 13 years as a security and baggage screener at MSP Airport.

"The problem with TSA is you can't socially distance," she said.

Terra can't say for sure how their household was infected. Teddy tested positive for COVID-19 as soon he arrived at Abbot Northwestern hospital with no good news in sight.

"[The doctor] kind of knew what was going to happen because of how quickly his organs were shutting down," Terra said.

For days, his wife was kept away, only allowed in for a few hours for a final goodbye.

"I just wanted to go in and hold his hand. I couldn't even do that," Terra said.

She is tired of how political the pandemic has become, and the lack of masks she sees being worn. Terra hopes the story of a husband, father, and grandfather serves as a reminder of just what real could mean.

"We were supposed to get old together. We were supposed to have a 50th wedding anniversary, and we're supposed to be one of those cute, little old couples that still hold hands and walk around the street," Terra said. "People have to take this seriously."

Teddy Girard is the second TSA official to die from COVID-19 complications. Last month, the agency announced a 55-year-old air marshal also died.

In all, 19 TSA workers at MSP have contracted the virus. Eighteen worked as screeners.

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