CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A beloved member of the U.S. Postal Service in Corpus Christi who had been battling COVID-19 for several weeks in the hospital has died.
Rick Longoria passed away after 38 days in the ICU at Christus Spohn Hospital. He was 63 years old.
Last month, we shared with you a vigil that was held outside the hospital. It was attended by family, friends and co-workers.
Longoria was born and raised in Corpus Christi and was a graduate of Miller High School. Those who knew Longoria say he was known for his passion of sports, especially golf, but most of all for his love of family.
"Just a great guy, he always looked serious, but was friendly, loved to laugh, him and my uncle were best friends. So funny together, would do everything together," said daughter Jennifer Longoria.
Longoria dedicated his work life to the U.S. Postal Service, a career that lasted 35 years. He served as a supervisor at the Port and Ayers Post Office in Corpus Christi before he got sick.
"Just an out pour of love and prayers. He knew a lot of people," said Jennifer.
She recalled the day her father told his family he had tested positive.
"He was a supervisor and one of his mail carriers had come in sick. They sent him home and my dad had to finish his route," Jennifer said.
"He didn't show symptoms for like three days."
"I believe that employee tested positive afterwards and so my dad when he started showing symptoms, my step-mother, and my little brother and his husband, all four of them tested positive."
"My step-mom was also in the hospital there with him, there for eight days," Jennifer said. "When he was talking to me about it, he was really sure he was going to be able to beat it, I think I'll be okay."
"My dad was for the most part a healthy man, active, he just went downhill so fast," Jennifer said.
The US Postal Service released this statement to 3News:
The Postal Service is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our postal family members in Corpus Christi, TX. The employee was a dedicated public servant, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time."
As of the end of August, out of 630,000 employees with the postal service, there have been more than 9,659 who have tested positive for COVID-19 with some deaths.
The postal service said they continue to follow recommendations by the CDC and public health departments in order to reduce health risks for their employees and customers.
According to the Texas Medical Association, opening the mail is said to be one of the lowest risks of contracting COVID-19, but local health officials still recommend washing your hands after handling letters or even packages.
Meanwhile, Jennifer said her dad will be remembered as an amazing son, father, husband and friend.
She also had this message for those who knew her father, and those who never got the chance, "do everything you can to stay safe."