Los Fresnos News

Coronavirus hits close to home

Mike Todd, right, hands over a check for $2.500 donated from the Los Fresnos Rodeo to Danella Hughes of the American Red Cross in April 2018. Todd passed away due to the coronavirus on July 7. Photo: Tony Vindell / LFN


LOS FRESNOS – The coronavirus is touching the lives of many, even infecting those who have been taking the recommended precautions or those who thought it was not going to impact them.

As of the morning of July 15, however, close to 290 people from the Los Fresnos area had been infected with the virus since the Cameron County Public Health Department started giving statistics back in March.

Countywide, the number of positive cases of coronavirus was expected to pass the 4,600 mark by the same day. Of that number, several people from Los Fresnos and from nearby Indian Lake have died.

Mike Todd, a longtime San Benito resident who was regularly seen in Los Fresnos working with an organization he helped found, fell victim to the virus. His wife, Aida Castillo, said Mike had been taking all the necessary precautions to avoid contracting the virus.

“I am still trying to figure out where he did get it,” Castillo asked in an interview a week after his death on Tuesday, July 7. “We went everywhere together. We wore face marks, gloves, kept social distancing, washed our hands regularly and so on. We protected ourselves the best we could.”

Castillo said one of the reasons they were so careful was because Mike had asthma and high blood pressure.

As one of the founders of Los Fresnos Rodeo, Mike was always on the go promoting the annual event that just celebrated its 31st anniversary this past February, looking for sponsors and approaching the Los Fresnos City Council and the Community Development Corp. for funding. But things turned for the worse after he tested positive. He went to the hospital where he had to wait for several hours inside an ambulance and even longer to get admitted to a room.

The day he was intubated, Castillo said Mike told her he was doing fine. At the hospital, she was told Mike was an excellent candidate to receive plasma, but that never happened and a nurse told her later she never got the order to give him any.

“Why didn’t they give it to him,” she asked. “This would have saved him, I believe.”

Castillo said she and Mike had been together for 24 years and had planned to celebrate another anniversary on July 14.

Castillo said Mike called her shortly before his death and told her, “Baby, I don’t think I am going to make it. I love you very, very much. I can’t breathe.”

Castillo said Mike was a great father, helped her raise her boys and both of them were in the process of adopting two other boys.

“He also helped me raise my family,” she said. “He was a great man.”

Los Fresnos Mayor Polo Sandoval said he knew Mike for a number of years.

“I first met him at city hall,” he said. “He was a very likeable person who was always willing to help other people.”

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