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Belle Glade mayor, wife lose 6 family members to COVID-19

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT
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The mayor of Belle Glade and his wife went door-to-door for months trying to educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, in just three weeks, six members of their family have died from the virus without being vaccinated.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus

During that timespan, Lisa Wilson has been in and out of Butts Memorial Chapel in Belle Glade.

"It's just been really bad for my family. We're really, really struggling," Lisa Wilson said. "I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it. I don't have (any) words for it. I don't know."

Lisa is an aide to Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, and her husband, Steve Wilson, is the mayor of Belle Glade.

On Wednesday afternoon, she was sitting inside the funeral home with her husband and brother, planning another memorial service.

Lisa Wilson said her family's nightmare began three weeks ago when her 48-year-old uncle, Tyrone Moreland, was taken to Lakeside Medical Center. He died a short time later from COVID-19.

Lisa Wilson's uncle, Tyrone Moreland, is among her family members who have recently died from...
Lisa Wilson's uncle, Tyrone Moreland, is among her family members who have recently died from COVID-19.

"Maybe a week after he was hospitalized, then my grandmother was hospitalized also," Lisa Wilson said.

Born and raised in Belle Glade, Lisa Wilson said she adored and admired her grandmother.

"She was the rock of our family," she said. "I was with her from birth ... so I just bonded with her."

But 89-year-old Lillie Mae Dukes Moreland died two days after her son, Tyrone, was buried.

Wilson has lost three more cousins, all from the coronavirus. She said all of them were unvaccinated.

Lillie Mae Dukes Moreland was described as the "rock" of Lisa Wilson's family.
Lillie Mae Dukes Moreland was described as the "rock" of Lisa Wilson's family.

"You can't grieve the death of one because then the next day or two someone else has passed away, so it's been really hard to comprehend and try to figure this all out," Lisa Wilson said.

She spent months trying to convince her family to get vaccinated, but she said they were scared and fed into the misinformation on social media.

"My family that was dying on their death bed, they also wanted me to let people know to get vaccinated," Lisa Wilson said.

Signs are now posted around the city telling people to listen to the facts, and the mayor said his family will continue to advocate that the vaccine can save your life.

Signs around Belle Glade urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Signs around Belle Glade urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We want to make sure that we do our part to ensure that people get the opportunity. There's no excuse for them not being able or not having the opportunity to get the vaccine," Mayor Steve Wilson said.

Lisa Wilson said she only wishes her own family listened.

"I need for everybody to hear this message, don't trade places with me and my family. What we're going through, it's not a good feeling," Lisa Wilson said.

Scripps Only Content 2021