Valley family hit hard by COVID-19 after about 40 members of their family contract virus

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 23:17:52-05

AVONDALE, AZ — Two Avondale business owners closed their doors this week to mourn the loss of family members who died from COVID-19.

Laura Gonzales and Robin Velasquez, life partners and co-owners of Laura's Burgers and More in Avondale, said their family was hit hard by COVID-19 just after the holidays.

Since Christmas, about 40 members of their family have contracted COVID-19, and four have died.

"It’s just a horrible, horrible thing," said Velazquez. "It’s just something you don’t ever want to see somebody go through."

On Wednesday and Thursday, the couple held a memorial service and reception for Laura's uncle and aunt, Herman and Virginia Castillo, husband and wife who died just 33 days apart from the virus.

Herman, a Vietnam Veteran, was an infantry paratrooper in the 101st Airborne and was a Bronze Star recipient. He passed away on March 1. Virginia, passed away earlier in the year on January 27.

In the first two months of the year, both Velasquez and Gonzales lost their 99-year-old grandmothers to COVID-19, Guadalupe Castillo and Lila Schneider.

The couple is looking to move forward with their health, burger stand and family for support.

"The support that we have from one another during that time, that faith, really does help. It's not easy, but just like everyone else we're doing our best," said Velasquez.

Laura's Burgers and More is located at 60 E Western Ave, Avondale, AZ 85323.