Ky. remembers more than 10,000 lost to COVID-19; Permanent commemoration planned – Community News
Covid-19

Ky. remembers more than 10,000 lost to COVID-19; Permanent commemoration planned

The Commonwealth of Kentucky hosted a memorial ceremony for the more than 10,000 Kentuckians who have died from COVID-19.

Governor Andy Beshear and religious and health leaders were joined by the Lindsey Wilson College Singers and the Kentucky State Police Guard of Honor.

Since the pandemic arrived in Kentucky, 10,214 people have died from the disease.

“The number of Kentuckians lost to COVID is approaching the total number of our people we lost in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined,” Beshear said. “Right now, over 10,000 of our neighbors are gone, and their loved ones are hurting, missing them, and preparing for their first or second Thanksgiving with an empty seat at the table.

“Our war against COVID is in many ways different from the wars waged by our brave soldiers. But to achieve our ultimate victory, we must have the same urgency, unity and commitment to each other.”

Others speaking at the memorial included Dr. Philip Overall of St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Jamar Wattley, a nurse at Baptist Health La Grange, and Jacqueline Woodward, who lost her husband, Gary Woodward, to COVID-19.

“Together we gave everything we had for the men, women and children of the commonwealth. Together we held their hands, prayed with them, gave them hope and worked tirelessly to give them the best possible care. Even through the darkest days of this pandemic, even at the peak of peaks, we stuck together,” said Dr. Overall. “Let’s not forget that it is that unit that will get through this and find us united as we work to put this struggle behind us.”

“We are here to remember the 10,000 Kentuckians who succumbed to COVID. As a nurse, these numbers have meaning to me. These numbers represent the people I’ve cared for and the memories I have with them,” Wattley said. “Let this monument symbolize a time when we had fear and uncertainty that we all faced together – but better yet – let this monument honor the courage of the fallen.”

“Today is a bittersweet day as we come together to honor the memory of all those who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19. Ten thousand. What an overwhelming number and what a devastating time it has been for so many. I have endured the greatest tragedy of my life because my husband of 45 years, Gary, is no longer by my side,” said Jacqueline Woodward. “The heartache, pain and sorrow is beyond words can explain. I am here today not only for my family and me, but also for all the families who have lost loved ones in the state of Kentucky. Those loved ones and I will forever have a bond that will connect us as we embark on the new journey of life together—remembering the loved ones who meant so much to us and gave so much to Kentucky.”

Deacon James Weathers, director of parish life at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Lexington, Rabbi David Wirtschafter of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, and Dr. Chuck Queen, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Frankfort, offered prayers and blessings.

At Sunday’s ceremony, the governor announced that Kentucky-born Amanda Matthews, artist and chief executive officer of the Lexington-based Prometheus Foundry, has been commissioned to create the permanent Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial, which will be located in Monument Park on the Kentucky State Capitol grounds.

A COVID-19 Memorial Advisory Panel, composed of health professionals, relatives and loved ones of the lost, and COVID-19 survivors, selected the final design for the memorial.

“As a resident of Kentucky, Amanda’s pride and compassion for the people of the commonwealth and for the struggles so many have endured during the pandemic shines brightly through her personal and through this work,” Beshear said. “This piece will be expertly crafted, illustrating the willingness of Kentuckians to come together for each other during this pandemic.”

The commemorative artwork – titled “United We Stand. Divided We Fall.” – will commemorate the state’s losses and sacrifices since March 2020 and remind future generations of the challenges the Kentuckians – together – have overcome.

The monument will have an ADA accessibility design, including visual, audible and tactile as well as symbolic images on bronze discs. It will also be surrounded by lights that will first glow green as the sun sets, to symbolize empathy and compassion for the Kentuckians we lost during the pandemic.

The governor said healthcare partners including Norton Healthcare, Baptist Health, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, King’s Daughters Health System, UofL Health, UK Healthcare and Pikeville Medical Center are sponsoring the new memorial, which is also supported by donations to the Team Kentucky COVID-19 memorial fund. All donations are tax deductible. Click here for more information.

“We’ve all — whether or not we’ve lost someone close to COVID — been changed forever through these times,” Beshear said. “I believe that in order to fully move forward and embrace the opportunities that we see emerging in this Commonwealth, we must have full respect for this moment in history that has tested us in ways few would have imagined two years ago. can imagine.”

This week, the governor and lieutenant governor encouraged all eligible vaccinated Kentucky adults to get one of three COVID-19 vaccine boosters — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — to boost their immunity and fight the COVID-19 virus. 19 to help end pandemic.

-Staff Report

Image is an artistic representation of the planned permanent monument

This week, the governor and the lieutenant governor encouraged all eligible vaccinated Kentucky adults to get one of three COVID-19 vaccine boosters — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — to boost their immunity and fight the COVID-19 virus. -19 to help end pandemic.