TUCSON (KVOA) - We have lost so many lives to COVID-19 in southern Arizona. At News 4 Tucson, we are on a mission to make sure they aren’t forgotten.
"... Just really one of the most true, heartfelt guys you could ever meet,” Ismael “Izzy" Cruz, who lost loved ones to COVID-19 said. "Just really meant well."
Cruz said he and his family lost his uncle, Vince Cano and his grandmother, Juanita Perez Canto to COVID-19 this year. She was 72 and he was 51.
"They were pretty much our second set of parents, to me my sister and my brother," Cruz said. "So I mean they made a super huge impact,”
Cruz said his uncle, Vince always kept a positive and giving mindset.
A small business owner, he was very active in the community.
Cruz said his grandmother loved to dance to rock and roll. For her and Vince, family came above all else. She loved her grandkids
He asked everyone to wear a mask but said there is something more to remember one thing.
"It's definitely not just numbers when it comes to this it is someone that has been a part, for our whole lives,” Cruz said. “ We've never had a world without them and now we do over the virus"
"Marge was my next-door neighbor," Alison Frye, who also lost a loved one to COVID-19. "She lived with her husband, Dale."
She said Marge Hutchins was a "war bride." She and her husband, Dale got married before the end of World War II. The neighbors became as close as family. When Dale passed away, her out-of-state family eventually moved her into a memory care facility.
"My daughter was actually one of her caregivers,” Frye said.
She said she and her husband bought Marge and Dale's house to keep it in the family. In 2019, they celebrated Marge's 100th birthday.
Then Marge tested positive for COVID-19. She was quarantined in another room.
She said the facility considered Marge to be in hospice. They allowed Frye to suit up in full PPE gear to go in and see Marge.
Frye said she brought Marge a picture of her husband, Dale and some pre-recorded snippets of audio of Marge's family members to play for her in the room a few days before she passed.
Frye said Marge was not a number. She was a person.
She asked that people "carry on their memories and with that just become stronger maybe a little kinder.”
We aren’t done honoring those who’ve lost their lives here in Tucson.
You can still share your stories of a lost friend or loved one, just click here to add to our virtual memorial.