A somber reminder: COVID Memorial honors those lost to the coronavirus | TheUnion.com
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A somber reminder: COVID Memorial honors those lost to the coronavirus

Lola Gold of the Jewish congregation B’nai Harim walks through the COVID Memorial placed along the Golden Center Freeway in Grass Valley. Gold spoke during the commemoration Tuesday.
Elias Funez

Those driving the Golden Center Freeway through Grass Valley recently may have noticed a change from the usually uplifting signage that adorns the hill next to Old Barn Self Storage.

Instead of displaying the HAPPY sign and references to current holidays, a somber memorial dedicated to those who have died from the coronavirus sits in its place.

Seats are spaced apart from one another to aid in social distancing during the COVID Memorial’s dedication Tuesday next to Old Barn Self Storage in Grass Valley.
Elias Funez

On Tuesday the COVID Memorial was commemorated in front of family members of those who have died from the disease, as well as a small group of local decision makers.



“This is a memorial to honor the lives of our local community members who we have lost to COVID-19 and their families,” Gold Country Memorial Group volunteer Cynthia Stewart said during the ceremony.

The 73 crosses signifying COVID deaths in Nevada County sit on the hill next to Old Barn Storage in Grass Valley, visible to freeway traffic.
Elias Funez

Local pastors also spoke during the event, including Rev. Rafe Ellis of Sierra Center for Spiritual Learning, Lola Gold of the Jewish congregation B’nai Harim, and Father Seth Kellermann of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.



There are currently 73 white crosses placed on the hill representing the current number of Nevada County residents to die of the coronavirus.

There are currently around 400,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S.

Father Seth Kellermann talks to members of the crowd gathered during Tuesday’s memorial commemoration. Family members of those who have died from COVID attended.
Elias Funez

Crosses will be added to the memorial as the number of deaths in the county rises, according to Stewart, who said the memorial will remain up for at least 30 days.

Stewart also added that Gold Country Memorial Group is looking for someone with land along the Highway 49 corridor so they can install a permanent memorial.

Senior Minister Rev. Rafe Ellis, of Sierra Center for Spiritual Living, gets a close look at the COVID Memorial placed on the Old Barn Self Storage property adjacent to the Golden Center Freeway in Grass Valley. Ellis was one of three local ministers to speak during a commemoration of the memorial in which family of the deceased attended.
Elias Funez
Currently, 73 crosses, representing deaths to COVID in Nevada County, are part of the COVID Memorial. More crosses will be added as the number of deaths goes up.
Elias Funez

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email efunez@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.


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