RGV Rescue Team volunteer passes away from COVID-19, community remembers him

Coronavirus

Edward Avelar walks through floodwater during rescue efforts (source: Loren Dykes)

EDINBURG, Texas — “Just a small fish in a big pond.”

These are the words that grace Edward Avelar’s Facebook bio.

But even though he described himself as a “small fish,” his impact on the community was gigantic.

Avelar served the community as a volunteer for the RGV Rescue Team from 2018 until his untimely death from COVID-19 in August 2020.

Through his 45 years of life, Avelar took a smile with him everywhere he went and made everyone around him feel happy.

“He was always there for everybody he knew,” said Loren Dykes, Lead Operations coordinator of RGV Rescue Team. “He was the friend that everybody would want. If you needed something, he was there for you.”

Edward Avelar navigates a kayak through a flood rescue effort (soure: Loren Dykes)

Dykes first met Avelar in 2018 as the two were both apart of rescue efforts for Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

From then on, Avelar volunteered with RGV Rescue Team and helped people impacted by floods, fires, and other disasters.

Avelar even tried to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up a Facebook group focused on helping people recover from the virus.

More than 600 people were in the group as members shared support for those impacted by the virus.

The Donna native contracted COVID-19 in late June and shared his battle with the virus on social media.

For two weeks, Avelar kept the public updated with his condition, and although he was optimistic at first, his final posts in the group are a grim foreshadowing of his passing.

“In icu about to talk to the priest and make sure my soul is where it should be,” Avelar wrote in the group on July 17. “It’s [been] a fun time everyone and everyone will be [missed]. I will miss my [sons] and family and the smiles I have brought.”

-Edward Avelar’s post in the COVID Recovery and support group on Facebook on July 17

About two weeks later, Avelar passed away from COVID-19.

Dozens of posts were made as people offered their condolences to the fallen hero.

“You said we would go fishing and you couldn’t wait to go to church again,” wrote one Facebook poster. “Well, now you are in heaven the biggest church you can enter.”

When Avelar was not lending his time to helping others, he enjoyed fishing and contributed to the SPI Kayak Inshore Report column of the Saltwater Angler magazine.

Avelar is survived by his two children.

Edward Avelar poses with a fish he caught (source: Loren Dykes)

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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