QUEENS, N.Y. - Elvester McKoy was a correction officer on Rikers Island, a job that he was very serious about. But outside of work he was the life of the party.

"He was happy all the time. He was full of life," said Geraldine Venson, Elvester's sister.

McKoy loved to travel and was passionate about cooking. 

On his Youtube channel he posted dozens of videos of himself making his down home recipies.  He called himself Chef Ves, one of the many nicknames friends and family had for him in happier times. The 38-year-old went to the hospital two weeks ago after feeling ill at work. 

He died after testing positive for COVID-19.  

"We don’t even know exactly how he contracted the virus. If he got it from transporting the inmates, or from his facility where he worked or if he got it from transporting the inmates to the hospital we are not really sure," Venson said.

McCoy's best friend and traveling buddy said he spoke with him everyday after he got sick. Kevin Shepard was hoping McKoy would survive the virus but on Monday he found him unresponsive inside his home in southeast Queens.

"When we found him expired something inside of me expired too. A part of me died too," Shepard said.

McKoy is one of about a half dozen correction workers who have died from the virus. He joined the department in 2015 and was a school saftey officer for nearly a decade before that. 


"He loved his job so much he wanted my daughter to become a correctional officer so we know his job meant a lot to him," Venson said.

"He did, he had a passion. He was a positive young man. He was very sharp," said NYC Correction Guardian President Vincent Capers.

McKoy was born and raised in South Ozone Park. He joined the job corps when he was a teen, which is where he develop his cooking skills, and went to culinary school in San Francisco after that.

McKoy leaves behind a wife and his 6-year-old son who many say was the light of his world.

"His son is taking it a little hard because they spent a lot of time," Shepard said.

McKoy's family and friends will also miss the guy they called Ves, wingman and cougar. His sister's favorite nickname for him.