As we do every Friday during this pandemic, we pay tribute to five individuals who have fallen victim to the coronavirus -- which continues to tighten its grip on our communities.
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Although much of the country's focus is on this week's election, tonight, as every Friday, we honor the individuals who have fallen victim to the coronavirus that continues its grip on our communities.
Shorty Ortiz scored his first hit song at 19, skyrocketing to the top of the Tejano music scene in Austin. After decades of touring with his band, Shorty and the Corvettes, he started a new group with his grandson, the Mariachi Corbetas. Offstage, the 78-year-old worked tirelessly to help others. The Korean and Vietnam War veteran hosted music festivals to boost other artists, and, at the time he passed, was planning to open a sober living home.
Eighty-five-year-old William Wescott was always in touch with his inner child. His son said he was an active, fun father and grandfather with a high-wattage smile. William, who went by Bill, followed in his father's footsteps, graduating from Villanova to later work as a civil engineer throughout the East Coast.
He also served in the Marines and the Marine Corps Reserve in the 1950s and '60s. Bill eventually found his home in historic preservation, where he combined his expertise in structures and materials with his love for art.
Teaching came naturally to Choua Yang, her daughter said. A Hmong refugee from Laos, Choua saw a need in her Minnesota neighborhood for a school that celebrated her family's identity, history and culture, so she opened her own, a charter that soon became a bedrock of the Hmong community just outside Minneapolis.
Warm and humble, the 53-year-old raised five children and 14 grandchildren.
Max Osceola Jr. of the Panther clan of the Seminole Tribe of Florida was a tribal council member for 26 years. Max led by his belief in the importance of education to better his community. During his tenure, he helped broker the tribe's purchase of the restaurant, hotel and casino chain Hard Rock International.
Described by his family as an eloquent public speaker, a loving husband and a supportive father, Max was 70 years old.
Tanasia Alamo's smiles were soothing and her hugs were therapeutic, her mom said. Born and raised in Staten Island, Tanasia was independent and comforting. Her family said she taught them patience. Tanasia loved to sing, crochet scarves and blankets, and, most of all, she loved watching professional wrestling. Tanasia was just 25 years old.
As always, we want to thank families members for sharing these stories. We know it makes so much difference as we tell the stories of your loved ones.
Our hearts go out to you and to all those who have lost loved ones in this pandemic.