DENVER (KDVR) — On Sunday, community members gathered in Denver to honor three local King Soopers employees who died with COVID-19: Karen Haws, Randy Narvaez and James McKay.
Loved ones, former co-workers and UFCW 7 union members gathered for a memorial service Sunday followed by a memorial drive past the King Soopers store in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where Randy Narvaez and James McKay worked.
“I can’t even imagine how life is going to be without him now. He was everything to me, everything,” Narvez’s daughter Ju’Lisa Shafer said.
Randy Narvez was his daughter’s world. To the Denver community, he was the man who spent 30 years serving customers at King Soopers.
“He had may jobs over the course of 30 years, worked his way from courtesy clerk as a young man all the way up to management,” Narvez’s sister Nicole Trujillo said.
“I saw him every day making sure the community knew all the prices on all the products,” King Soopers employee Daniel Church said.
Church worked with Randy and 75-year-old James McKay at the Capitol Hill King Soopers.
“With James, he taught me dedication and that you are never too young to show up to work,” Church said, adding, “It’s a bit of a struggle, but I still carry on because, like they dedicated themselves to the community and their co-workers, I’m doing this just the same.”
The tribute and motorcade brought up many emotions as people shared stories of the ways each employee impacted other’s lives.
Dozens wove pictures, masks and messages of impact into a fence outside of the Capitol Hill King Soopers, creating a memorial to honor Haws, Narvaez and McKay.
“I’m so blessed to know he touched so many people, my daddy was amazing,” Shafer said.
“We should never have to bury these union members and have events like this because so much of this could have been prevented,” UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova said.
“It’s all good to be an essential worker, a hero, but what good is a dead hero, no disrespect,” McKay’s son James Rodney McKay said. “I wish my father was here to share his heroism but he’s not.”
McKay’s son says he wants to create a foundation to help other families dealing with the loss of a loved one from COVID-19.
King Soopers provided FOX31 with the following statement about Karen Haws, Randy Narvaez and James McKay:
We didn’t lose employees, we lost members of our King Soopers family. We are devastated by the loss of these individuals and our thoughts are with their families and friends as they grieve the loss of their loved ones. We hope that today’s memorial is a true celebration of their lives.
As we continue to battle this global pandemic safety remains our top priority.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, King Soopers has taken extensive measures to safeguard our associates, customers and supply chain, ensuring local communities always have access to fresh, affordable food.
Below are the measures we are implementing and continually updating to protect the safety of our associates, customers and our communities:
- Providing gloves and face coverings for every associate, every shift
- Plexiglass partitions installed at checkout stands
- Educational floor decals to ensure physical distancing
- Handwashing and frequently cleaning high-touch areas every 30 minutes
- Limiting store capacity to 50% of normal (1 person for every 120 square feet of store space)
- Increased store sanitation processes when restocking
- Mandatory temperature and symptom checks for associates prior to starting their shifts
- Communication with all employees to review, confirm and reinforce safety and social distancing best practices
Through regular communication with local health departments, we’ve affirmed that our processes continue to live up to our high safety standards in protecting our more than 27,000 associates and the millions of customers that visit our 152 stores each week.
A GoFundMe has been started for James McKay.