COVID-19

Colleagues Provide Final Farewell for Argyle Man Who Died of COVID-19

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Listening to Kandice Kawas and Krystn Forste describe their dad, Jeff Forste, you'll likely picture a caretaker, a man who lived to serve his daughters and wife.

“Just the little things. He would put her straw in her drink,” said Kandice Kawas.

“Sweeten her tea,” added Krystn Forste.

Kawas said he’d also tuck their mother in at night.

The sisters called their father giving, goofy and a person people wanted to have around.

Now in the family’s Argyle home, his absence is palpable.

Last month, Jeff Forste was hospitalized with COVID-19. His daughters said he originally expected to be there just a couple of days, but it wasn’t long before he was on a ventilator. Then, doctors transferred him to a hospital in Oklahoma for ECMO treatment. However, they determined he wasn’t a candidate.

On July 9, came time to say goodbye.

"Once he went, it just never got better,” said Kawas.

As Forste's family made arrangements to bring his ashes home, his coworkers at American Airlines, where he'd worked as a mechanic for 20 years, stepped in to help.

“American Airlines is going to fly you and your family to go get him and we’ll fly you back and we have a surprise for you,” Kawas said they were told by one of his father’s friends.

They told us to just keep looking out the window added Forste.

As they landed, the pilot asked passengers to remain seated while “VIPs,” the Forste family, were escorted off the plane.

They watched as the ashes of the husband, father and grandfather were pulled from the plane’s belly and his colleagues lined up to give them a hug one by one.

"It kind of all just hits again because you hear the other passengers, ‘Oh look at the firetrucks. They're spraying the plane',” said Kawas. "I hear somebody else say, it must be for somebody really, really special."

It turns out all of the years Forste had been pouring into his own family, he’d done the same for his work one, leaving behind a community to help them through their darkest days.

"There is still good surrounding us. We just have to look. We just have to see it,” said Kawas.

Kawas and Forste started a GoFundMe to raise money for their father’s funeral expenses and to help care for his widow.

NBC 5 reached out to American Airlines for comment. A spokesperson for the airline said they don't confirm current or past employment.

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