The coronavirus pandemic’s latest Clark County victim was a young man in the midst of planning a wedding and buying his first house.
Danh Tran, 34, had been recovering at home in Vancouver after falling ill. He died of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to the Clark County Medical Examiner. That marked the 30th such death in Clark County since March.
“It’s hard to comprehend or even grasp,” said Mark Woodford, who had been Tran’s friend since their days at McLoughlin Middle School. “I’m supposed to be standing next him as he marries his best friend. I can’t even stand next to him to bury him. And people want to be mad about having to wear a mask.”
Woodford, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for final arrangements and to help Tran’s fiancee, Jessica Salamanca.
The couple had planned to marry in August, but postponed the wedding until next year because of the pandemic. They were days from closing on the purchase of their first house.
Tran graduated from Fort Vancouver High School in 2004. He attended Portland Community College and worked as a restaurant server before landing a position 10 years ago at Sunlight Supply, now Hawthorne Gardening Co., his friends said.
He had been performing his job as a sales account manager from home due to the pandemic, said Tran’s friend and co-worker, Aaron Hook of Battle Ground.
“He loved gathering. He loved to be around people,” Hook said. “He made any party that much better. Everyone who knew him knew his laugh.”
Tran’s sociability helped him in his career, too.
“He had the gift of gab,” Hook said. “He loved to converse with people. He was super-caring as well. He would remember people’s names, their hobbies, any life events.”
Hook said he and Tran often lifted weights together.
“Don’t get me wrong — he loved barbecue food and he loved beer, but for a 34-year-old guy, he was pretty healthy,” Hook said.
Tran also enjoyed country music, golf and watching Ducks football, even though he never attended the University of Oregon.
“He bled green,” Hook said. “Every game he would watch intensely. He attended many of the games in Eugene.”
Friends said Tran happily gave up his bachelor lifestyle when Salamanca came into his life.
“His life and world changed,” Woodford said. “Everyone was happy for them.”
Friends were ready to help the couple move. Instead, they’re helping Salamanca with the dismal task of tying up Tran’s affairs.
“I had talked to him just a week ago. We were talking about me coming over with my truck and trailer,” said Kyle Christel, Tran’s friend since middle school. “It kind of feels like cancer or any other disease. You know it’s out there, but until it hits home …
“Then it’s really real.”