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Family, community remembers veteran Las Cruces fire lieutenant who died from COVID-19

Edward Vasquez at the Mesilla Fire Department. (Credit: Vanessa Kolson){p}{/p}
Edward Vasquez at the Mesilla Fire Department. (Credit: Vanessa Kolson)

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Doña Ana County is mourning the loss of a long time public servant who lost his life to COVID-19.

The family of Fire Lieutenant Edward Vasquez is remembering a father, husband, brother and son, who lived his life to help others.

Vasquez lost his life to the virus on Jan. 30, but unfortunately due to a backlog of COVID-19 deaths he hasn’t been able to be put to rest.

“I think that everyone’s doing the best they can in the situation and the fact that we had to wait a couple more weeks to get him cremated, is OK,” Edward's sister, Vanessa Kolson, said.

His family said he died a fighter and will forever be missed.

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“He was the husband, the son, the brother, the friend that would just be there for you if you needed someone. If you needed someone to come by to help you with a home project, or to help you move, he was just that type of person that would be there,” Edward's brother, Mario Vasquez, said.

The fire department in Mesilla is where Lieutenant Vasquez began his career over 16 years ago.

On Thursday, Kevin Hoban, the Chief at Mesilla Fire Department reminisced on times spent with a man he said was extremely special.

“He contributed a lot to this department,” Hoban said. “He left his mark here and I’m certainly never going to forget him.”

Vasquez was only 35 years old when COVID-19 took his life.

“Once he was pulled off the ventilator, then he passed away within three minutes,” Kolson said.

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His siblings tell KFOX14 he was a family man. He leaves behind his wife and daughter.

“They were his life, they were his everything,” Mario Vasquez said.

“It’s a lot for a seven-year-old to lose her dad and they have a baby on the way as well, a little boy and we are so happy to be able to carry on his legacy through his son,” Kolson said.

Most recently he was working at the fire department at the NASA White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces.

His colleagues said his impact went far beyond his family and into the community.

“He was just an overall great person, he always had a great outlook on life,” Joshua Sanchez said.

“I truly learned a lot of from Edward,” James Herrera, the NASA fire department deputy chief, said. “I learned the importance of caring, not only for your crew, but for others and having a compassion for life.”

Friday, Feb. 26, a procession with full honors will bring Vasquez home to Las Cruces where he will eventually be laid to rest.

The family is holding off on official services until it is safer to have a larger gathering. They don’t want to have to turn away anyone who wants to attend and honor his life.

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