SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Loved ones and parishioners are mourning the COVID-19 death of a beloved pastor at a College Area church.
On, Jan. 3, at the Fe Esperanza Y Amor church, Pastor Taurino Rivera delivered a sermon to about 40 people in an outdoor service.
"My father was a man who preached with passion. That day, he had the same energy level as any Sunday," said Daniel Rivera.
His son, Daniel, says the next day, Rivera started feeling sick.
"Started with body aches and chills," said Daniel.
Rivera’s wife, Silvia, became sick days later, before being admitted to the ER. Soon after, Rivera was also hospitalized, testing positive for COVID-19.
Rivera posted updates from his hospital bed, but two weeks after he was admitted, he was placed on a ventilator.
On Feb. 1, Taurino Rivera, a father of four and a grandfather of seven, passed away at the age of 57.
"I was broken. I've never been broken in my life like that," said Daniel.
Daniel said goodbye through glass.
"I told him, 'Dad, I thought you were a good man, and now I now see you are a great man,'" said Daniel.
Daniel says Rivera, who founded the church nine years ago, was a loving and grateful man, passionate about helping people.
"My father always talking about ... nothing more rewarding than seeing a life change for good," said Daniel.
Daniel says his father was diligent about wearings masks, and as well as following CDC and county protocols for outdoor services. He doesn’t know where his father contracted the virus, but he made this plea to others.
"If you value life, please wear your mask. Please follow the guidelines. I wouldn’t want you going through this," said Daniel.
Rivera’s wife remains on a ventilator, but Daniel is hopeful she could be taken off of it soon.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set to help with burial and other expenses.