MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A board member helping to get Shakopee’s schools open again is sharing the human cost of COVID-19.

As School Board Chair of Shakopee schools, Kristi Peterson balanced her full-time job while also worrying about her father, Daryl Kruger, who was living in a small nursing home three hours away in Ellsworth, Minnesota.

Kruger, 82, died in August after the virus ravaged his nursing home in southwest Minnesota.

“The last time I saw my dad was on March 7” said Kristi Peterson. “I never would have imagined that was the last time I would see him.”

It was nearly a year ago when the state started to lock down, altering Kristi Peterson’s personal and professional life in countless ways.

Window visits were the only company he had as residents were kept in their rooms. Peterson knew it was taking a toll on him.

MORE: Faces Of COVID: A Look Back At The Minnesotans We Lost

Still, this past summer the virus began to spread.

“Then the 15th of August he passed away. So it was literally eight days of having symptoms to not being with us anymore,” she recalled.

A farmer-turned agricultural equipment supplier, Kruger believed in hard work. He was blessed with 51 years of marriage, a love of Twins baseball, and his grandkids

“We feel like we were robbed of spending years with our father with this virus,” said Peterson.

Still, Peterson recognizes the need to get students back to school.”

“I’ve really had to look at it with a different perspective,” she said, after a year that altered so many families like hers forever.

Liz Collin