By Gaige Davila
COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in the Laguna Madre area.
Laguna Vista Police Department officer Noah LeBlanc died early Monday, Sept. 12, morning after being hospitalized with COVID-19 two weeks ago. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. On the same day LeBlanc was hospitalized, Sept. 1, Anthony Seays, an employee of Port Isabel’s Sutherlands store, died from COVID-19.
“God has gained a beautiful soul,” LVPD Chief Tony David wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook on LeBlanc’s passing. “God is crying.”
Ed Meza, Laguna Vista’s City Manager, said LeBlanc was a “gentle, fine young man” that was dedicated to his job and loved his family. Meza also commented on LeBlanc’s continuous battle with cancer, which plagued him for the last few years.
“He always had a smile and was a professional in his duties as a police officer for the Town of Laguna Vista,” Meza said. “As for his health, he was a fighter and was determined to win his battle with cancer. He will be missed.”
LeBlanc was hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sept. 1, just as he was preparing for a second round of chemotherapy for cancer. After his hospitalization, the Town of Laguna Vista, Cameron County Constable Pct. 1 Norman Esquivel, and Brownsville Police Department officer Eric Castillo organized a vigil at Laguna Vista’s Roloff Park.
Signs made from the vigil, with hundreds of signatures from friends, family and the Laguna Madre community, were hung in LeBlanc’s hospital room.
Outpouring came from law enforcement agencies across the Rio Grande Valley, including Port Isabel PD, South Padre Island PD and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.
LeBlanc’s funeral was held on Thursday, with more than a hundred cars, mostly police cruisers, preceding and following his hearse. He was buried at Port Isabel City Cemetery.
Sutherlands employees held a fundraiser and raffle on Sept. 11 for Seays, organizing it as he laid in ICU, on a ventilator, hoping to raise money for Seays’ grandmother to pay mounting medical bills. Seays died before the fundraiser could be held.
Sutherlands raised $4,230 for Seay’s family, with Sutherlands matching each dollar made from the fundraiser. The money will go to Seay’s family to cover expenses.