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Correctional officer Gabe Forrest honored with memorial service after dying from COVID-19

Gabe Forrest, 42, is the third Department of Corrections officer to die from COVID-19. The state considers his death a “line of duty” death.

HOQUIAM, Wash. — Friends, family, and coworkers of Gabe Forrest honored the correctional officer’s life with a memorial service Wednesday in Hoquiam.

“If they didn’t get a chance to meet Gabe, they missed out,” said Forrest’s brother, Tyson Forrest.

Gabe Forrest, 42, died on June 17 from COVID-19. While it is unknown how he got the virus, the state considers it a “line of duty” death.

Forrest is the third Department of Corrections officer to die from COVID. Berisford Morse died in May, and David Christensen died in December.

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Forrest worked at Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen for more than 18 years. He was elected “Correctional Officer of the Year” in 2018.

WATCH: Memorial service for correctional officer Gabe Forrest

"I've heard some of his coworkers say that some of the inmates are grieving ... because he treated you with respect,” said Tyson Forrest.

Jerrod Crow worked with Forrest at Stafford Creek. Crow said the pandemic made working in prisons difficult.

“We weren’t ready for this. No one was ready for this,” said Crow.

He said COVID deaths among officers and inmates have taken a toll on morale over the past year-plus. But that was not the case for Forrest.

“He made everybody better,” said Forrest. “I think he stayed there for us. I think deep down he knew he was a cornerstone for us.”

Forrest’s memorial service was held at Olympic Stadium in Hoquiam.