Family finds bridge from grief after Floyd County man dies of COVID-19

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 8:11 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - When Donald Neeley died in November, after being diagnosed with COVID-19 one month prior, his family was devastated.

“It is real. It’s affected our family so deeply. When he ended up getting it, we were at the stage where we weren’t going anywhere,” said Krystin Spears, Neeley’s granddaughter-in-law.

On top of the death, his family found themselves unable to properly grieve because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place.

“It’s horrible to miss such a thing. It was so hard for Kylie (his granddaughter). She didn’t understand,” said Krystin.

Friday, however, family members and people of the Abbott Creek community joined to celebrate Neeley’s life as the county dedicated the bridge outside of his home in his honor.

“Just to take a pillar in the community such as my grandfather, and to do something as minute as this, it means more than a lot of people can understand,” said Christopher Spears.

His daughter, Teena Spears, said the death of her father, who worked and served in the area his entire life, hit the family and the community hard.

“He left a light to all of us. Which I’m very very thankful for,” said Teena. “He is sadly missed and he will always be sadly missed, but knowing where he’s at gives us all comfort.”

She said the memories of her dad will fuel her family through, but the bridge standing in his honor will carry those memories on for generations to come.

“He’s made the journey across this bridge numerous times. Rather it was in his old farm truck or his tractor,” said Christopher. “Seeing the sign, I can almost look and see him driving across the bridge today.”

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