After spending what they call some of the best days of their lives together as a family.
“We just went on a trip to Yellowstone and we did zip-lining," said Alex Huerta, a South Bay resident. "My dad was zip lining in the sky. We did horseback riding for five hours, we drove to five different states, we did everything and still, he was not exempt from it”
Now, the Huerta family is living the unimaginable after their patriarch contracted COVID-19 and died.
Their father, Ruben Huerta, was the only one in his family without the vaccine.
"We wanted my dad to get a vaccine," said Ruben Huerta, Huerta's son. "We all got the vaccines. We tried encouraging my dad, but my dad really wasn't for it. He really didn't want to get the vaccine."
Ruben Huerta was 58 years old and had no underlying conditions.
"He was a healthy individual," said Alex Huerta. "He didn't smoke. He didn't drink. When I say he was healthy. He was actually a healthy person. He, I mean, obviously, my dad loved eating, that was like his only thing, but my dad overall was healthy.”
Sadly, Huerta's story isn’t unique. In San Diego, nearly 90% of COVID-19 deaths are among unvaccinated individuals.
And still, a large population remains hesitant about getting the vaccine.
While we were in the ICU, the nurses reminded us that no one is exempt from this," said Ruben Huerta. "It doesn't matter how healthy you are, how young you are, no one is exempt from this."
The two brothers now sharing their story in hopes of making a difference.
“The truth is, is that the pandemic is still happening, you know, the pandemic is still very real," said Alex Huerta. "And we have to take that into consideration.”
The two brothers describe their father as a hardworking man who was always there for his family and friends.
He leaves behind a wife and three kids.