CALDWELL, Idaho — A Caldwell family is devastated after losing a family member to COVID-19.
Mike Albares said he and his family got the devastating news on January 14. His father, 73-year-old Manuel Albares, died after a month-long battle with the virus.
"It was something that we never thought would never happen to our family. We were basically told to say goodbye through Facetime or Skype message. It was not a fun day," Albares said.
Albares said he knows his father did everything he could to fight the virus. For more than forty years, Manuel Albares helped kids build character and toughness as a boxing coach in Caldwell.
"My dad was a hard-working guy since he was young. He always put family first, he loved his community since 1971, he moved to Caldwell, Idaho, he gave this city everything, he just liked to see the youth of this community strive," Albares explained.
Others who knew Manuel say they will remember him for his leadership and giving back to the community.
"He's probably helped thousands of kids that come through here since the 80s," Ross Saldana, who trained under Manuel's guidance, said. "The big thing was he took the kids off the streets back in the 80s; the gangs were bad. Made a huge difference in my life and less fortunate and made differences."
Albares said his father Manuel also served his country and was an Army veteran. He hopes the community will remember his father's contributions and reminds everyone that this virus can be devastating when you least expect it.
"My dad was a big proponent of being safe and taking it seriously. I know my dad he would [have] just asked that people not think of themselves but think about other people," Albares said.