• 50°

Rowan Sheriff’s Office holding fundraiser for deputy hospitalized with COVID-19

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office will hold a fundraiser today for an investigator who’s been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a month.

Brian Benfield will be the beneficiary of a hotdog and sausage sandwich fundraiser from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the parking lot beside the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, located at the corner of North Main and Liberty streets. All money generated from the fundraiser will help Benfield pay for medical bills related to COVID-19.

Today’s fundraiser will charge $3 for sausage sandwiches, $2.50 for hotdogs, $1 for drinks and $5 for two hotdogs and a drink.

Brian is a graduate of A.L. Brown High School who lives in Stanly County with wife Shannon and kids. He’s worked for the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office since the mid-2000s and “loves knowing that he makes a difference,” Shannon said. These days, he works on a lot of child abuse cases.

While Shannon and Brian both have health insurance, she’s sure the costs will be astronomical after a five-week hospital stay and an expected move to a long-term acute care facility.

“I can’t even imagine. I don’t even want to imagine,” Shannon said.

He tested positive on Aug. 15 and was admitted into the hospital two days later. Brian’s dad, Ned, drove his son to an urgent care after he experienced breathing problems, but he was quickly transferred to Atrium Health Cabarrus for further treatment.

“And he’s been there ever since,” said Shannon, who also developed a severe case of COVID-19 and recovered faster than her husband.

The couple’s son also tested positive for COVID-19. Their daughter went to stay with a friend as soon as symptoms emerged.

Brian is on a ventilator and hasn’t been able to talk for weeks, but his condition improved recently. He’s now writing notes, smiling back during video calls and stood for a short time on Tuesday.

Shannon is counting her blessings because he’s expected to survive. With ties to Cabarrus, Stanly and Rowan, the Benfields have people in three counties praying for them.

“It’s only by the grace of God that’s he has pulled through it,” she said. “He’s made such great progress and I give all the glory to God. We’ve witnessed a miracle. We were told he shouldn’t be here as sick as he was.”

Brian and Shannon have known each other since they were teenagers and been married for more than 20 years. They first met at Carolina Mall when she was singing Christmas carols. They persevered through the fierce rivalry between A.L. Brown and Concord High School, where Shannon graduated, and married in their early 20s.

She’s already planning a date night for when he’s recovered. Top choices include Rick’s Restaurant in Denton or Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe in Concord.

She grateful for the generosity of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, which made taking paid leave easy in addition to the fundraiser.

“When I saw they were going to do that, I just cried because it’s another blessing,” Shannon said about the fundraiser. “We weren’t expecting it all all. Most employers would not have done that.”

After experiencing COVID-19 firsthand, she’s got a message for the general public. Everyone should quarantine when they’re supposed to and take the coronavirus seriously. She’s also thinking about getting vaccinated.

“I was one that did not want to be vaccinated,” she said. “You wonder, with the vaccines, would they have helped him from being on a ventilator? Would the symptoms have been as severe? You don’t know who to trust.”

The delta variant of COVID-19 is the culprit for the current surge in cases across the country and in North Carolina. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show almost 100% of cases in the country are the delta variant, which was first identified in December in India.

The delta variant is more contagious and may cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people, according to the CDC. Fully vaccinated people can get COVID-19, but they appear to spread the virus for a shorter period of time. Vaccines are effective in preventing hospitalization and death, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says.

To find a location to be vaccinated for COVID-19, visit vaccines.gov.

Comments

Elections

Rowan Board of Elections criticized for debating replacement of poll supervisor

Business

NC Small Business Administration official talks to Rowan Chamber about pandemic help

Local

Spencer aldermen, mayor candidates talk town’s future

Local

Firms hoping to lead Salisbury manager search will make pitches to council members Friday

Education

$2.24 million grant will major boost to Livingstone College STEM programs

Crime

Salisbury man arrested for running from deputies in smoke shop, tossing gun under table

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with indecent liberties, first degree sex offense

News

Council to discuss potential changes to Downtown Revitalization Incentive grant program

Local

Election 2021: Bowman challenging Taylor in Rockwell mayor’s race

News

Public safety, city manager, economy: Mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins discuss city’s biggest issues

Elections

Political Notebook: Rowan Democratic Party makes endorsements for municipal races

Local

Spencer looking for big impact from new storefront grants

Granite Quarry

Election 2021: Granite Quarry’s new mayor will be a veteran or a newcomer

Ask Us

Ask Us: If I received my vaccine in another county, is it recorded in Rowan?

Local

Young entrepreneur raises $1,000 for Rowan County United Way with lemonade stand

News

Election 2021: Candidates in East Spencer hoping to continue moving town forward

News

Election 2021: Candidates detail their visions, goals if elected to Salisbury City Council

China Grove

Election 2021: China Grove Town Council candidates detail approaches to handling economic, residential growth

Cleveland

Election 2021: Four candidates competing for three seats in town of Cleveland

Local

County hopes software will streamline foster home licensing process

Local

Election 2021:Four vie for pair of seats on Granite Quarry board

High School

High school volleyball: Carson tops Mustangs again

News

Judge: No waiting on NC budget to act on school funding

Nation/World

2 more House Democrats retiring, underscoring 2022 obstacles