At Moments Like This, Let’s Just Be People

The strapping fellow pictured above is Charles Vallee, who died at age 27 this month of long Covid. His obituary says that he “made the lives richer of all he knew,” and I don’t doubt that he did. He seems to have been a remarkable young man.

Vallee was the son of Rodolphe “Skip” Vallee, gas station magnate and generous donor to Republican causes in Vermont and elsewhere. I have poked more than my share of fun at the political stylings of Mr. Vallee, including his deep disdain for Bernie Sanders and his turn as an alleged environmentalist in opposing a Costco gas station that posed a competitive threat to one of his Maplefields outlets, among other things.

Right now, though, it’s time to leave politics at the door. Nobody deserves this. All the sympathy for Skip and his family. This just tears at the heart:

Early this year, Charlie contracted Covid-19, and while weathering the mild respiratory symptoms, he was devastated by a host of Long Covid symptoms so severe that he ultimately had to reject a further deployment and, in the end, take a leave of absence from work. It was in this state, that Charlie left us on May 3.

There’s a whole lot of suffering in that handful of words, for Charlie himself and for those around him. I can’t imagine what these months have been like for the Vallees. Just a few years ago, Skip fought for his own life against cancer. I hope his recovery left him with the strength to endure the loss of his son.

Charlie was exactly the sort of person who’s supposed to be impervious to Covid. He was young and healthy. His initial illness wasn’t that serious, but long Covid got him good and he became one more statistic in Covid’s grim and growing toll.

To their credit, the Vallee family are setting up a special fund in Charlie’s honor, the Charles M. Vallee Foundation for Long Covid Research. They are urging memorial contributions to the fund. Let’s hope the Foundation helps spark a breakthrough in the fight against long Covid. That would at least put a silver lining around his death and the bereavement of those close to him.

Godspeed, Charlie. Condoléances, Skip.


7 thoughts on “At Moments Like This, Let’s Just Be People

  1. Judy Lance

    I’m right there with you on this one, John. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and recognizing the death of this young man.
    Every life lost to covid is a tragedy. Reading about all that Charlie accomplished in his short life makes me realize what passion he must have had, how much impact he would have made as he continued his work.
    The ravages of this virus do not discriminate.
    My deepest sympathy to his family and everyone else who was close to Charlie.

  2. Walter Carpenter

    I read this obituary on the digger about a couple weeks after I had this damned COVID and had finally come up negative on a home test. Even though I am vaxxed/boosted, it hit like a freight train and this could have easily been me. I could understand why so many have succumbed to this, especially older folks like myself, and it’s much harder when they’re so young. I did not know Charlie and abhor Skip Vallee and all that he represents, but I’m also “right there with you on this one, John,” especially as I am a COVID survivor.

  3. Anonymous Fed

    The irony is the fact that it’s Mental Health Awareness Month.
    MEANWHILE, as the author, you’re writing a hit piece (thinly veiled as a unity commentary) surrounding a man (that I knew well) who was lost to us when he took his own life.
    You should be ashamed of yourself, but you won’t be, because you used my friend’s suicide to make a commentary on his father’s stance as a conservative.
    Doing this all in just to make a thinly veiled commentary on politics of his father and, who struggles from his own health challenges, all in the name of politics is quite trash.

    Chuck was one of the most apolitical civil servants I ever had the pleasure to serve in a theater of war with.
    He was nothing short of amazing in his efforts to protect American society. We all looked up to him.

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      It wasn’t meant as a hit piece. Not at all. I don’t know where you’re getting that from, unless you just have a preconceived notion of what I’m going to write.

      1. Frank Fastibule

        Then why include a bunch of links to your articles about Skip’s donations to Republican causes in the first paragraph?
        You know what you’re doing and I’m sure you won’t lose sleep over it.
        Meanwhile, Chuck spent tireless nights with us asking him to go get some sleep as he pored over reports trying to uncover the next 9/11, but yeah, focus on Skip and his donations. Classy.

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