Brownsville’s firefighters have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis from the beginning. First responders have handled the brunt of virus-related emergency calls on top of regular duties for months, interacting with the public on a daily basis despite the risks.
And so on Tuesday afternoon, a group of Brownsville firefighters took a much-deserved break to pay a visit to one of their own, David Guerrero, who is fighting for his health at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Brownsville.
Two fire engines parked at the hospital’s main entrance just before a thunderstorm rolled into town just past 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
Captain Eugenio Cardenas said the team organized the visit the same day after learning of an assistant chief’s hospitalization. “There’s no way to really go see him. We’re going to go put a poster on his window — hopefully it will motivate him and hopefully he gets better. We want him back on our shift as soon as possible” said Cardenas.
Cardenas directed his colleagues from the top of the ladder as first responders raised it to the ICU’s window.
Luis Guerrero, the chief’s twin brother and a fellow Brownsville firefighter, followed Cardenas and held a neon green poster marked with messages of support and a photograph of the squad of first responders in his hands reading, “Get Well Soon Chief!”
Guerrero said the brothers come from a family of firefighters — their older brother is also one, as is their brother-in-law, as is their nephew.
A group of approximately 10 colleagues climbed the ladder one by one. They kept going even as dark rain clouds broke into a downpour over the hospital grounds. After the visit, the firefighters taped the poster to the window before driving away with sirens sounding.
“ We’re really happy with the support the community has given to all the first responders, nurses, and the hospitals,” Guerrero said from below his brother’s room.
He urged the community to continue following guidelines and stay healthy, to wear a mask, and to practice social distancing.
“ The virus is still among us. A lot of people want to say it’s not happening in our community, but actually I had the virus, my brother has the virus, my older brother had the virus. My dad unfortunately passed away from the virus. My brother in law — his dad passed away from the virus,” Guerrero said.
“ Just be aware that we still need to follow all of the safety guidelines because this virus is still out there. The only way we’re going to beat this is by working together and with support from the community.”