coronavirus pandemic

South Bay Mourns Grandmother Who Motivated the Community to get Vaccinated

Romie Cervantes became a spokesperson for immunization during the pandemic

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This story was originally reported by NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article, click here.

Family, friends, and community members gathered Friday to remember Romie Cervantes, a beloved South Bay grandmother who dedicated her life to serving the community.

"It's scarier to get the virus than to get the vaccine," Cervantes told Telemundo 20 in an interview.

Those were the words of Romie in January 2021 when she just got vaccinated against coronavirus.

"My mom would say we all have to get vaccinated," explained Benita Martinez, the younger daughter of Cervantes.

Martinez was the one who took her as soon as the eligibility group for people 65 years old and older opened.

"She was one of the first people to interview because, although she was old, she was very young at heart," Martinez added.

Cervantes served as a chaplain at the Las Colinas Detention Facility and at the time of her passing, she was serving as the chaplain for the Chula Vista City jail.

And throughout the pandemic, she became a spokesperson for immunization.

"She said, 'No no, we all have to get vaccinated she went and sent texts to all the ladies in her senior class and people at her church to get vaccinated," Martinez added.

In an emotional ceremony Friday, her loved ones, friends, and family bid her a final farewell. Cervantes died due to complications of open-heart surgery.

"She went through an open heart surgery, but her organs closed [Sic] and they couldn't do anything anymore," the youngest daughter added.

On February 7 at age 83, Cervantes died, she had three daughters, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

"I have a void in my heart because she's not here, but I have faith in Christ because she's not here," Martinez said.

Cervantes was the founder of Love Bridge Prison Ministry, a ministry of education, which provided resources to women in prison.

"I served with her for three years in the prison ministry in Chula Vista, the federal women's prison, we shared the word of God, we pray for them," said Lourdes Kamoon, one of the women who participated during her support as a chaplain.

And the memories she leaves are innumerable.

"It's fast, there is no pain, look they vaccinated me and it doesn't hurt at all," Cervantes exclaimed during one of the interviews.

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