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COVID-19: Popular Youth Basketball Coach Who Worked At Ground Zero Dies From Virus

Sonny Aravena and his family.
Sonny Aravena and his family. Photo Credit: Newburgh Boys and Girls Club

A popular Hudson Valley coach, husband, and father died after contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

AAU basketball coach Sonny Aravena was among four Orange County residents to die on Sunday, March 29 from COVID-19, as the death toll in New York continues to climb as the virus spreads.

Aravena, a New Windsor resident, was survived by his wife and four children.

The Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh announced the death in a heartfelt Facebook post on Monday, March 30.

“The Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our friend, supporter and AAU Basketball Coach Sonny Aravena. Sonny Aravena died last night from the Coronavirus.

“Sonny was a good man, with a giving heart and will be remembered for his dedication to his family and the youth of the City of Newburgh. Sonny spent much of his free time nurturing the boys and girls under his supervision at the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh as a basketball coach and mentor. Our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Aravena worked at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terror attacks. He was a longtime employee, working as a splicer out of Exterior Street in the Bronx for Verizon. He was also a member of the Communications Workers of America Union.

“He came from a big and loving community,” his work partner and friend for many years, Marlon Escobar said. “People from a lot of different places all knew and loved him”.

A GoFundMe fundraising campaign was started on behalf of Aravena’s family which raised more than $63,000 in just two days. Those interested in donating can do so here.

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