CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell died Monday due to complications from COVID. According to a statement from his family, the 84-year-old was fully vaccinated.

An area foundation is still encouraging those who haven’t gotten their shots at all to do so because of the overall health benefits.

“Again, this should be another conversation starter about our own health and our own safety,” Dr. Marcellus Taylor said.

Dr. Taylor Director of Health Equity with the community foundation says no matter who you are COVID-19 can affect anyone.

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“That critical side, should not necessarily lead us to negate our health but it should actually lead us in taking it more seriously and say ‘hey, this is impacting our community and how can I take the appropriate steps so I can be around for those who love and care for me?’ Quite honestly,” Taylor said.

Chief Diversity Officer at Shippensburg University and United States Veteran Stephanie Jirard says, when she was active duty as a Navy JAG, General Powell was a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and she served under his command.

“He never forgot where he came from and the fact that it was really enlisted people who make up the core of sacrifices in the armed services,” Jirard said.

While being remembered as an accomplished military leader Powell’s 2003 address to the United Nations, in which he claimed Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction that never materialized and that hurt his legacy significantly. “General Powell does actually note this in public statements, that wasn’t the best time in his career,” Jirard said.

However, Powell was the first Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first Black Secretary of State under Former President George W. Bush. Jirard says General Powell will also be remembered as a trailblazer who broke many barriers. “He was a man dedicated to America in the United States ideals of freedom and justice for all and that’s what General Powell, his overall legacy leaves for us today,” Jirard said.

Workers with the Partnership for Better Health say if you are unsure about the safety of the vaccine don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and have deep conversations.