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Community rallies after Lawrence Township police officer dies on Christmas from COVID-19 complications

Ptl. Sean VanDenberg was 53 years old
Posted at 4:48 PM, Dec 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 18:34:56-05

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Fundraising efforts are underway for Lawrence Township police Ptl. Sean VanDenberg who died on Christmas from COVID-19 complications.

Chief Dave Brown with Lawrence Township police told News 5 VanDenberg spent the past several weeks in the ICU because of several medical conditions including multisystem organ failure, pneumonia and COVID-19.

“It’s been rough,” Brown said. “He went into the hospital on Dec. 4 and just got progressively worse from the day he went into the hospital to the day he passed. He was exposed to COVID-19 on a call on his last day on the job. He transported a person with felony warrants to the jail and that person was COVID-19 positive. So he was exposed there and that is one of the issues he was battling in the hospital.”

The father of four and grandfather of two joined Lawrence Township Police in 2013 after working as a fabricator and welder for years. Skills that made him stand out from the start.

“He looked at things more tactically, more like an engineer than just as a cop,” Brown said. “He always came into every call, every situation with the mindset of helping whoever was there. it didn’t matter if it was the victim of the crime or the suspect. If it was someone who needed help, Sean would go out of his way to make sure they got the help they needed.”

Since his death, nearly $20,000 has been raised in the past few days for VanDenberg’s family.

In addition to a GoFundMe page, the police department also set up an online store featuring a T-shirt and decal, with proceeds going to the family through Jan. 9.

“Obviously this was highly unexpected,” Brown added. “We all thought we had tons of time left with Sean. Just remember them and keep his memory close to you.”

A funeral service is planned for Jan. 8.