INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. (WBTV) - A school community in Union County is mourning the death of a school employee.
Melissa Bowman, a longtime employee in the Union County Public School System, died Friday after she had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Bowman worked for the school system for 20 years. She was an active part of Poplin Elementary School, where she worked as a data manager for the last 11 years.
During her time at the school, she was also a crossing guard.
Outside the school, there is a growing memorial in Bowman’s honor.
Those mourning Bowman’s death says a big piece of the school community is now gone.
As the memorial outside the school grows with balloons and flowers, her students are finding special ways to remember her.
On Monday morning, sisters Raleigh Grace and Savannah, who both attend Poplin Elementary School, will take a walk to school like any other day.
However, this time, their favorite crossing guard will not be there. Raleigh Grace and Savannah will remember the smile that greeted them at school every morning.
“She was always the one who cheered us up in the morning,” Savannah said.
A GoFundMe page that was created describes Bowman as “someone who touched the lives of so many people.”
Bowman died Friday after battling coronavirus for three months.
“When we saw her on the crosswalk, it was so much fun to have her there when our mornings were gloomy. Every time we saw her, it made me feel happy,” Raleigh Grace said.
Memories and prayers also pouring out across social media for Bowman, who evidently touched the lives of many.
Union County Public Schools released this statement: “Union County Public Schools extends its sincerest condolences to the Bowman family. She will truly be missed by her school family.” The district says counselors will be available at Poplin Elementary starting Monday.
A sign at the school reads, “in this community, Melissa will forever be in their hearts.”
“It feels good and bad she passed away because now she can live in harmony instead of dealing with COVID-19 now,” Raleigh Grace said.