MISSION — For seven minutes this summer, Lt. Javier “Javy” Ramon was technically one of the Rio Grande Valley’s COVID-19 fatalities.
The 27-year veteran of the Mission Police Department flatlined while he was battling the virus in a coronavirus ward at DHR Health in Edinburg, the closest call of a struggle to recover from the virus that’s taken over half a year and is still ongoing.
Ramon doesn’t remember it, specifically. He didn’t find out for weeks, when he woke up. There was no light at the end of a tunnel — just humble prayer and acquiescence.
“I was just giving myself up to God,” he said in an interview distributed by the city. “Just uh — you know, just letting him know I’m not ready to go, but it’s his will. So be it. That’s pretty much all I remember.”
Earlier this month, the city of Mission honored Ramon’s struggle against the virus.
That Monday, the city council declared Feb. 8 “Lt. Javier Ramon Day,” honoring the lieutenant with a proclamation describing his half-year long struggle against COVID-19 as a beacon of hope to others impacted by the global pandemic.
“We want to congratulate you, lieutenant, and welcome you home,” Mayor Armando O’Caña said.
Ramon, 47, stood from his wheelchair to receive the honor, still on supplemental oxygen. He declined to speak that day, but he does ultimately see himself working as that beacon of hope the proclamation called him.
Faith got him through his ordeal, Ramon said, and spreading faith is what he intends to do.
“You’ve gotta have faith. If you don’t have faith, you don’t have anything,” he said.
Ramon spent 173 days in the hospital struggling with COVID-19. He’s come a long way since contracting it in late July, but the virus severely damaged his lungs.
It didn’t damage his spirit.
“It’s been hard, but I’m determined,” Ramon said. “I’m gonna get back to 100% and I’m gonna get back to work and do the same thing I’ve been doing. Try to influence as many people as possible in a positive way.”
Ultimately, Ramon sees himself back in uniform within three to six months.
“I was very lucky to survive this ordeal,” he said. “I’m here right now. But we all need to follow the rules, whether we like it or not. Just be mindful of what we need to do. Wash your hands, wear your mask, keep your distance.”