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Siblings Grateful For Hempstead Community's Support After Parents Died Of COVID-19

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COVID-19 claimed the lives of Ernesto and Sandra Lemus, leaving their grief-stricken children parentless. CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports.

Video Transcript

- COVID-19 took the parents of Long Island siblings. Their Hempstead community has responded with over loving care and love. CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan spoke with his brother and sister who are grieving and grateful.

JOHALMO LEMUS: There are only two people had the luxury of being their children. That was me and my sister. It's like, they were awesome parents.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: COVID-19 claimed the lives of a couple deeply in love, Ernesto and Sandra Lemus, leaving their grief-stricken children parentless.

SANDRA LEMUS: The house just feels, like, really empty. And then you kind of feel lonely.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Sandra, a vivacious stay-at-home mom, Ernie, the hardworking beloved chef at a Mineola restaurant, tested positive on the same day, and felt sick enough to go to the hospital. The siblings, Johalmo and Sandra, local college students, never dreamed it would be the last time they'd see their parents alive.

JOHALMO LEMUS: In theory, I didn't even get to say, like, goodbye.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Soon, distress calls from the medical staff.

JOHALMO LEMUS: I was on the phone with the doctor, and like, and I just started crying.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Sandra had slipped away.

JOHALMO LEMUS: I'm over here crying, my soul, our mom.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: They relied on their deep faith, overwhelming response from their church and former high school community, Kellenberg. Yet two weeks later, another unexpected loss. Ernesto's organs shut down.

JOHALMO LEMUS: That was the eighth day of the rosary for my mom, so a lot of people were coming because it was towards the end. And they found out, so at least we had someone to comfort us.

- Ernie was just part of the family here. It's just a rough, tough time for everyone here. What we decided to do was just GoFundMe and try to make something good out of it.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Fundraising for funeral expenses and the children's futures.

JOHALMO LEMUS: At times, it's like, you're just angry because they're, like, they're not even here and I'm 22. My sister's 18.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Ernesto Lemus will be buried Monday at Queen of Peace cemetery, next to his beloved wife Sandra.

JOHALMO LEMUS: Another time that's like, all right, well, you know they did pass away, but look at all the people helping us.

SANDRA LEMUS: The community and, like, the love that it's given us is really nice.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Strength to overcome agony. From Hempstead, Long Island, Jennifer McLogan, CBS 2 News.