NAVAJO NATION (3TV/CBS5) – The Navajo Nation is in mourning after 50-year-old officer Michael Lee died from complications from COVID-19.
Thursday morning the Navajo Nation held a funeral for Officer Lee, streaming it live via social media. "Michael Lee was a true warrior that was on the front lines of this pandemic," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.
Navajo Police Chief Phillip Francisco remembered Officer Lee’s caring personality. "He was one of those, those employees that you know he was always there. Everybody knew him, everybody smiled. He brought a smile to everybody's face. He's going to be sorely missed."
Officer Lee was a 29-year veteran of the force, he spent his final months of his life protecting his people from the virus that eventually took his life. "Michael Lee saved many, many lives, being on the front lines of not just this pandemic, but throughout his 29 years of service, and we thank you for his family," President Nez said.
Arizona's Family had a chance to interview President Nez and Police Chief Francisco before the funeral. The chief said Officer Lee did everything in his power to protect others from getting the virus, including his family. "You know how he cared for his family, listening to his family and what he did for his family was very, you know, touching for me. He was he was so protective of his family,” Chief Francisco said. “He did everything he could to make sure that they didn't get sick, and then the way he treated his family and the way he interacted with them was, you know, this really displayed what kind of man he was at home, and then also, at work. So this is a huge loss for all of us."
"Hopefully, we can push this virus off our nation by honoring the words of our police officers. Michael Lee was on the front lines telling people to take care of themselves through this pandemic. So let's honor honoring them by doing that throughout this pandemic, and we'll get over this," President Nez said.
At least 17 Navajo Nation police officers have tested positive for COVID-19, and almost all of the others have recovered.