VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A driver is accused of hitting two people who were walking in a crosswalk near Constitution Drive at Virginia Beach Town Center. The crash happened around 4 p.m. on Monday.
Rosa Blanco, 76, died from her injuries, according to the Virginia Beach Police Department.
Over the decades, Blanco served in leadership roles within multiple organizations, including the Filipino Women's Club of Tidewater (FWCT) as past president and Council of United Filipino Organizations of Tidewater (CUFOT) as treasurer.
Still processing the news of Blanco's death, CUFOT Chairman Dr. Cynthia Romero remembered her as wise counsel and a confidant to so many.
Blanco hailed from Angono, Rizal in the Philippines, and moved to the United States in the 1970s.
“Auntie Rosa was probably one of the most dedicated individuals in our entire Filipino community [in Hampton Roads]," said Romero.
In Filipino culture, it is customary to precede the first name of someone your elder by a title, related by blood or not. So, many people in Hampton Roads called Blanco "Auntie Rosa," as Romero did in an interview with 13News Now.
Romero also went on to describe Blanco's legacy as her generosity, her friendship and her truly loving spirit.
A peer, Cely Diaz, said she was left speechless when she learned of Blanco's passing. "We just saw her on Saturday, we even went to [Town Center.]"
Diaz shared fond memories of knowing Blanco partly through FWCT, recounting her kindness and always-willingness to help.
"She's gone, but will be remembered in our hearts."
Blanco's impact also went beyond the Filipino community. She taught math at schools in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
"We're just continuing to pray to her, pray for her family and friends and simply support each other. We're all grieving the loss of a strong community member and a friend," Romero added.
Blanco is survived by a son.
Virtual prayer services are underway. As the community and family grieve, Romero said it's important she and other volunteers push through reopening the Philippine Cultural Center of Virginia, an institution Blanco helped build and back along with other families.
“To honor her, by opening and having the opportunity to gather everyone again just like she wanted," said Romero.
Moreover, police said the suspect hit another woman in her 70s on Monday afternoon. Her name has not been released.
The suspect, Nathan Poole, 24, is behind bars for DUI charges. More charges are pending, according to Virginia Beach police.