LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Another member of our law enforcement has lost the battle against COVID 19.
Clifford Fontaine was a Nevada State Police trooper who passed away on Nov. 27 because of health challenges related to this virus.
He passed away at the age of 54 and has left behind his wife and eight children and a community that cared for him deeply. Trooper Travis Smaka, NHP public information officer says, has never met anyone like Cliff.
“There are people still alive today because Trooper Fontaine showed up to work on a particular day,” said Smaka.
Fontaine started his career with Medic West as an AEMT, then became an airline mechanic, and later decided to go through Nevada Highway Patrol academy here in the valley. He was sworn in as a trooper in 2005 and worked for NHP for 16 years, but during this time he never stopped saving lives.
Melanie Dennon, one of Fontaine’s former colleagues and close friends, says during his time with NHP he continues to serve as an AEMT.
“Everybody everywhere in the valley has experienced loss from the pandemic, it doesn’t. Matter if you are police, fire, or ems, we have all been impacted by it,” Dennon says.
Fontaine is now the seventh law enforcement member in Nevada to die because of COVID complications. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Erik Lloyd and Civilian Employee John Melwak died last year before the vaccine was available. This year, officer Jason Swanger, officer Philip Closi, Sgt. Douglas King, officer Edward Contreras, and now trooper Fontaine.
Minddie Lloyd lost her husband, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lieutenant Eric Lloyd last year in July because of COVID. She says losing your other half is devastating.
“It is a shock when you lose a loved one, they were there with you one moment, and the next day they are gone,” said Lloyd.
She mourns with not only the Fontaine family but thousands of families who have lost their loved ones to this virus. She understands that moving forward things will never be the same.
“The first Christmas, the first Thanksgiving without a dad, that for me is painful for her,” explained Lloyd.
She says local agencies are doing what they can to protect our men and women in uniform.
But Lloyd says our law enforcement's chances of getting COVID are higher.
“they are working in street corners, they are dealing with criminals that are sitting in the back of their police car, so their environment is not sterile.”
Lloyd says she hopes we as a community will reach herd immunity, but until then she says everyone needs to do their part to stay protected.