The family of a young local woman who was injured in the Charlottesville attack Saturday are hoping lawmakers can help bring her home to Houston.
Natalie Romero remains in a Charlottesville, Virginia hospital where doctors are treating her for a skull fracture. She was one of the counter-protesters hit by a car driven by suspect James Alex Fields.
Romero’s mother wants her daughter to recover in her hometown where she can be surrounded by family and friends.
“We need her here. There’s nobody over there. Just her friends, and it’s not the same thing like to be with your family,” said Ericka Chaves.
Romero is the daughter of Colombian immigrants. She graduated from Bellaire High School in 2016 and earned a full scholarship to the University of Virginia.
“I’m doing a lot better,” Romero said as she spoke to KHOU 11 News by phone.
The 20-year-old had returned to Virginia ahead of the start of her fall semester in time to oppose the white nationalist rally that happened Saturday.
“It makes me happy to know that they’re hearing about it at a national level because it’s a really important issue that’s going on. I’m very proud of my city and my friends and my family,” said Romero.
Her family is praying lawmakers can help facilitate Romero’s return to Houston.
“I love you and I want you home,” said Chaves.
Back home, students at Bellaire High School are following her progress closely.
“Natalie was here about a week ago,” said Jose Flores, a senior at Bellaire. “She’s an inspiring woman. She was helping me my sophomore year, like, develop because I was going down a bad route.”
Romero spent all four years of high school rising through the ranks of her school’s JROTC program. Romero’s mother says her daughter earned several JROTC. medals.
“She was like the number one JROTC cadet in HISD. She was very outgoing,” said Flores, who is two years younger than Romero.
She’s a hero in his book.
“She fought for what she believed in,” said Flores. “Well, she stands out. She’s, like, not afraid to, like, to say what she believes in.”
The family has set up a gofundme page to help with medical and travel bills. They’ve already raised over $100,000.