Beloved McKinley Elementary choir teacher returns home following COVID-19 hospitalization


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — His voice is his instrument, but Kenneth Witchard found it difficult to string a sentence together just a few weeks ago. The choir teacher from McKinley Elementary School who already struggles with asthma, contracted COVID-19, then pneumonia and landed in the hospital. A stay that tested his faith, as he shared in a tearful Facebook video from his hospital bed.

“There are moments when I’m strong and when I have faith in God and I know he’s going to get me through it and then I read things like, a former teacher who works at my school passing away, and that scares you.”

But after four days of treatment at Memorial Hospital, Witchard was back home with his wife and two sons. And now a week later, he’s singing the praises of his nurses and everyone who reached out, prayed or stepped in to help his family.

“With that first story that 17 did, I had kids from years ago reach out to me, and I think that’s what motivated me.” “It means the world. They brought back so many memories I had forgot about and it made me stronger. I can’t get depressed, I can’t let this beat me. I am not done. God is not done with me yet in this world.”

Witchard still isn’t back to 100%, but he’s thankful for the little things.

“My son has slept with me every night and he cuddles me and we’ve just been a family and just been thankful for everything that God has truly blessed us with.”

Always the teacher, he hopes the community learns from his experience and takes the virus seriously. And remembers not to take a single day for granted. “I’m excited that I have that second chance.”

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