MIAMI-DADE County, Fla. (WGN) – Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson’s moonlight as a retiree as a funeral home owner in Florida. He says that COVID-19 has never been so bad.
Andre Dawson donned the Cubs uniform for a dark, well-pressed suit many years ago. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, his crew, which includes his family, followed suit. But this summer, the tide turned when the delta variant took out of the sunshine state.
“It’s been quite a touch and go, we put down many long hours, many late hours,” Dawson said. “In the last three weeks we have had about 25 new cases in total, and I think we had 40 last year.”
Of the 25 cases, 20 of them were COVID-19-related deaths. Paradise Memorial Funeral Home has not yet rejected any family in mourning, but Dawson is worried it could happen. He and his team have held six funerals every Saturday for the past three weeks.
Dawson said his wife Vanessa shows signs of stress.
“She said to me last night, ‘This is the time to enjoy this part of our lives together,'” Dawson said. “I said, ‘I know, just remember that now God has placed us at this time. “
Dawson will not overload his wife or the funeral director. But he said funeral homes are overcrowded, crematoria are backed up, and even finding a coffin can prove challenging.
But as a Hall of Famer, Andre Dawson is focused on working hard through it all. His team in Miami reminds him of the importance of the work he does for a community he cares about.
“When the phone rings, we should keep smiling because there is still another opportunity for us to do a service in the community,” he said.
Dawson’s message to anyone who wants to listen is simple.
“Please get vaccinated,” he said. “Because this thing is real.”