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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

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Covid-19 took the parents of Long Island siblings. Their Hempstead community has responded with over loving care and love. CBS News, Jennifer McLogan, spoke with this brother and sister who are grieving and grateful.

JOHALMO LEMUS: There are only two people who had the luxury of being the children, that was me and my sister. And they're 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.

JOHALMO LEMUS: The house just feels really empty. And then you feel lonely.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Sandra, a vivacious stay at home mom, Ernie, the hardworking, beloved chef at a Minneola 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 dreamt it would be the last time they'd see their parents alive.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: In theory, I didn't even get to say goodbye.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Soon distress calls from the medical staff.

SANDRA LEMUS: I was on the phone with the doctor and I just started crying.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Sandra had slipped away.

JOHALMO LEMUS: I'm over here crying my soul out over 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. 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. We decided to do this GoFundMe and try to make something good out of it.

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

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: At times it's like-- you're just angry because 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: At other times it's like, all right well, you know they did pass away, but look at all the people helping us.

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

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Strength to overcome agony. From Hempstead, Long Island, Jennifer McLogan, CBW2 news.