CHICAGO (WLS) -- The family of a well-known retired Chicago police officer who is battling COVID-19 is inviting friends to a candlelight vigil outside his hospital tonight.
John Garrido retired after a 38-year career with the Chicago Police Department- most of it spent as an undercover narcotics officer. Famous for his colorful outfits, he looked the part and fit the mold.
"There's nobody that I don't run into that's an officer that knows my dad and doesn't just gush about what a great police officer he was and what a great human being he is, in general," said John Garrido III, his son.
Before joining the department, Garrido served three years in the 101st Airborne Division, jumping out of airplanes. To those who know him, he seemed bigger than life - but he was not apparently bigger than COVID-19.
The 76-year-old was diagnosed with the virus more than a month ago and almost immediately taken to the ICU. A short time later put on a ventilator, where he remains now.
"We hope that we can begin the treatments and put the protocols in place early enough to not put patients on ventilators, as it is extremely difficult to get those patients off the ventilator and survive," said Dr. David Bordo, Chief Medical Officer at Amita Health.
It's been tough on his family. They're not allowed inside his room to visit and friends can only look from his window outside the hospital, but they have been updating his condition and following his progress on social media.
He posted a Facebook event to invite friends to a candlelight vigil at Amita Health Resurrection Medical Center located at 7435 W. Talcott on Chicago's Northwest Side.
"I started posting about Dad just because he knows so many people and I started getting calls and texts," Garrido III said. "The one place I could put information was there."
They know he has a long uphill road to try to recover. And the odds may be against him. But his family says their Dad never gives up, and neither will they.
"Our family, we're big believers in prayer, that prayer helps. So he's got thousands of people that are praying, not just here, but around the world," his son said.
They plan to have a number of people on the lawn outside the room holding candles, and many more following around the world on social media.
Candelight vigil planned for John Garrido, retired Chicago cop fighting COVID-19