'A beacon of hope': N.J. officer tours landmark that gave him inspiration during COVID battle

As one of the first New Jerseyans to get COVID-19 in a serious manner, one local man battles back from the brink and his inspiration is a testament to endurance.

Manchester Township police officer Antonio Ellis had many questions Saturday as he toured the USS United States, docked in Philadelphia.

FOX 29 brought Ellis’ incredible story to viewers in November 2021. He had returned to Cooper University Hospital to thank the team that saved his life from a near death COVID-19 experience.

While he was out of the hospital, he was not out of the woods. Physical therapy would continue for Ellis.


"And then I went to South Philly, to Magee Rehabilitation on the riverfront and I spent time there every day, driving over this bridge and seeing this ship," Ellis explained.

The ship is considered America’s flagship and it has not been simply an old, rusty ship to Ellis, but a shining monument of hope.

"The ship was a beacon of hope. You know, she sits here today, where she’s been for over 20 years, waiting for her new lease on live and throughout time, when other ships have gone to the scrapyards, this ship perseveres," Ellis remarked.

As he toured, Officer Ellis’ eyes kept scanning every inch of the historic ship that stands today and a ship that still can be something tomorrow. For Officer Ellis, that spirit is what pushed him through his years of recovery and rehab.

"Appreciation is a journey and the good and the bad, if you take it all in and you try to make yourself better from that. And, you know, I’ve been very fortunate," Officer Ellis added.