Parents reveal through sheriff that their son – an unvaccinated Sheriff’s Dept. correctional officer – died of complications from COVID-19
Correctional Officer Anthony Pasquarello kept himself in good physical shape and led a healthy lifestyle, so the 15-year veteran of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department really didn’t see the need to get vaccinated to protect himself against the deadly COVID-19 virus, according to Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger.
But the sheriff made it public to reporters last week – per the request of Pasquarello’s parents – that the killer disease claimed the life of the 37-year-old Saugonian on Dec. 9. “What happened to him, they don’t want to happen to anyone else,” Coppinger told reporters, referring to the wishes of Mario and Norine, who mourn the loss of their son.
Coppinger called it “a line-of-duty death,” as Pasquarello’s job as a transportation officer at the Middleton Jail put him in contact with the prisoner population on a daily basis. Confirmed cases of the Coronavirus have run rampant at the jail, with close to 150 inmates testing positive at one point.
The sheriff has ordered all employees and people who do business at the jail to be vaccinated by Jan. 4.
“Officer Pasquarello was a courageous, dedicated member of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department who served with great distinction, and we are simply devastated by his passing,” the sheriff said in a statement last week. “His service to our Department, as well as the good people of Essex County, will always be honored and remembered. We pray for his family during this very difficult time, as well as for his brothers and sisters at the Essex County Sheriff’s Department who are in great mourning over his passing.”
Pasquarello was among the latest of 84 Saugus residents to die of complications from COVID-19 since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March of last year.
Besides his parents, he leaves behind his six-year-old son, Vincent, his fiancée, Rio Joyce Mendoza, his sisters, Maria and LisaMarie, and several aunts and uncles.
Last Friday (Dec. 10) morning, Sheriff Coppinger and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department joined Massachusetts State Police and local police departments at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington where they escorted the body of Officer Pasquarello to the McDonald Funeral Home in Wakefield. Pasquarello, a Saugus High School graduate and lifelong town resident, had been hospitalized for about 10 days. His family later joined members of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department for a candlelight vigil at the jail in Middleton.
A funeral Mass for Officer Pasquarello was celebrated on Tuesday (Dec. 14) in St. Joseph Church in Wakefield, followed by burial in Lakeside Cemetery, Wakefield, with McDonald Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Alex Wilson organized a GoFundMe page to raise money to benefit Pasquarello’s young son, Vincent. As of yesterday (Dec. 16), the fund had raised more than $65,000.
“An incredible coworker and even better friend, Anthony will be missed greatly,” Wilson wrote on the fundraiser page. “The void left by Anthony’s passing will never be filled. He touched so many people’s lives, and left an everlasting impression. His laugh, humor, kind hearted and friendly personality will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Fly high our angel, you will be remembered, you will be honored, you will be missed. We love you Anthony!”
All donations made will be donated to a Trust set up by the family to benefit young Vincent. Donations can be made to the Vincent J. Pasquarello Trust c/o North Shore Bank, 1 Hamilton St., Saugus, MA 01906.