Illinois has lost nearly 22,000 people to COVID-19; each of them leaving behind family, friends and loved ones still grappling with grief as we enter a new phase of the pandemic. CBS 2's Marissa Parra shares the story of a high honor for two victims in the Archer Heights neighborhood.
JIM WILLIAMS: Illinois has lost 22,000 people to COVID-19; each one leaving family, friends, and loved ones grappling with grief. As we enter a new phase of the pandemic, CBS2's Marissa Parra shares a high honor for two victims in Archer Heights.
MARISSA PARRA: A sign of hope. Guadalupe and Maria Lopez Way.
RICHIE LOPEZ: I want to thank you all for being here, and have a great season.
MARISSA PARRA: On a cloudy morning, dozens gathered at 48th and South Kenneth Avenue, now a memorial to Maria Lopez and her husband, known as Lupe.
JESUS OCHOA: He was my coach in eighth grade. Yeah, he's a big name, big name in the community.
- Honoring their memory.
MARISSA PARRA: And big names leave behind big sorrow when they pass. Married for over 30 years, they got COVID in November and died within weeks. My
ERICA LOPEZ: Mama said goodbye to my dad on FaceTime through glass. I think my mom died of a broken heart once she found out that my dad passed away, and now they're together in heaven.
MARISSA PARRA: And together leaving a legacy. Maria would help immigrants in Little Village fill out tax returns. Lupe, a star 911 dispatcher, saving lives over the phone for over 30 years.
ANDY LOPEZ: They both left footprints all over the city.
MARISSA PARRA: But it was here they poured their heart and soul. This street was their first home, and the baseball field at the end of it was their second.
ETHAN GONZALEZ: He would always invite me to his house. He was my favorite coach.
RICHIE LOPEZ: My dad would always tell me, he'd be like, "I's not going here just to coach, I'm going here because these kids need me."
MARISSA PARRA: As the nation moves forward, the grief is still there for the sons and daughter they leave behind.
RICHIE LOPEZ: Really want to thank everybody for coming out today.
MARISSA PARRA: But the Lopez children say today feels like the start of a new chapter.
ANDY LOPEZ: Today, it was a sense of normalcy with everybody here.
RICHIE LOPEZ: It just really shows what Chicago is about. It's community.
ANDY LOPEZ: It tells us they won't be forgotten.
MARISSA PARRA: We have been following the Lopez family story for months now. And within the last few weeks, the children did become fully vaccinated, telling me it was an emotional moment thinking about the difference it could have made for their parents.
Reporting live from the streetside studio, Marissa Parra, CBS2 News.