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New Mexico

Southern New Mexico firefighter who died of Covid-19 at age 35 still had ‘so much he wanted to do’

lt. edward vasquez
Jackie Vasquez
Lt. Edward Vasquez, 35, served as a firefighter in the NASA White Sands Test Facility, where contracted Covid-19. He was a first responder for 16 years.

DOÑA ANA COUNTY, New Mexico - In his 16 years of serving southern New Mexico, Lt. Edward Vasquez brought dedication, passion and loyalty to protect the lives of people he had never met.

"He had so much planned you know, for the future," said his wife, Jackie Vasquez, who understood his enthusiasm to serve more than anyone else. "So much he wanted to do.”

In December, the 35-year-old firefighter contracted Covid-19 on the job at the NASA Fire Department on the White Sands Test Facility, east of Las Cruces.

“They kept telling me, ‘He has his youth,'" Jackie said. "Still, in the end, it wasn’t enough.”

He was first hospitalized at the Hospitals of Providence Transmountain Campus before being transferred to UNM Hospitals, according to his wife. The public servant battled Covid-19 for 41 days.

 "We put ourselves at risk every day and we know that," said Jackie, a NICU nurse who also contracted the virus.

Lt. Vasquez leaves behind a six-year-old daughter and a son on the way.

“Don’t take life for granted," said Jackie, who is expecting their second child "Tell your loved ones you love them as often as you can.”

The procession for Lt. Vasquez is planned for Friday, February 26th. At 11 a.m., first responders will escort his body from Albuquerque to Doña Ana County. At around 3:30 p.m., the procession will exit at Anthony, passing by the Anthony Fire Department and ending at the lieutenant's house on Bosque Road.

Various fire departments will participate, including the Bernalillo County Fire Department, the Albuquerque Fire Department, the Spaceport America Airport Fire Station and the Las Cruces Fire Department.

If you'd like to help his family, you can donate for his funeral service and his medical bills here.

Coronavirus / Health / News / Top Stories / Video

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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