NILES, Illinois – Two months ago, live-in caregiver Allen Belaguas, 21, became a hero in many peoples’ eyes.
The Filipino caregiver saved the lives of the sister and father of his employers who were visiting when their Naperville, Illinois house burned down.
After he pulled them to safety, he rushed back to save his employers Tom and Jan Lambert. Tom, 57, suffered from brain cancer and Jan was blind.
Authorities, who are still investigating the cause of the fire, said the second floor may have collapsed on Tom and Jan, which resulted in their deaths.
Belaguas was critically injured and rushed to hospital.
Belaguas struggled for almost two months until he died on Feb. 16 at a hospice facility.
As friends and family gathered at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Homes, they mourned and remembered the good life of Allen Belaguas or Awish. He is gone but to his loved ones, his memory will last forever.
“Si Awish masayahing tao at mahilig magbiro,” Belaguas friend, Rico Moreno, said. “Kung may kaibigan siya, lalo na ka-close niya, naku ibibigay niya, ibubuhos niya time doon sa kanya.”
“Normally, when I come home from work, I always come home and go to his room and say, ‘Hi son, how are you?’” said his stepfather George Pierson.
“This time, Tuesday, I came home at 2:30 and I went straight to his room, didn’t even say hi to my wife; I just went straight to his room and then, he wasn’t there,” he said.
They hoped for a miracle, but learned to accept Belaguas’ death, knowing that he is no longer suffering.
“Yung nasaksihan ko na hirap na hirap siya, umiiyak din ako, sabi ko 'Panginoon, kung gusto mong kunin yung anak ko, kunin mo na lang. Huwag mo nang pahirapan',” said his mother, Zeta Pierson.
As the Filipino community grieved for losing Belaguas, they also take comfort in knowing that he died a hero.
“Proud ako na maging Filipino dahil sa ginawa niya, dahil isang kabayanihan yung ginawa niya kahit alam niya na ang kapalit buhay niya,” said his cousin, Marie Smith.
A private cremation was held last Sunday for Belaguas. Due to financial difficulties, his family has not been able to bring Belaguas’ remains back to the Philippines.
His mother has a message to all Belaguas’ relatives and friends in Cagayan de Oro where he grew up.
“Darating yung panahon na uuwi ko rin siya," she said.