COVID-19 memorial remembers lives lost, gives community place to grieve
Remembrance Memorial will open in Robinson Plaza in downtown Nevada City, and move to three other locations in the county in 2021
Special to The Union
To honor lives lost and give the community a place to grieve, the Nevada County Remembrance Memorial will be installed in Robinson Plaza downtown Nevada City by family members of those who’ve lost their lives from COVID-19, elected officials and an alliance of local artists. It will be open to the community and public on May 3.
Every county in the country was impacted by lives lost to COVID-19, and Nevada County was no exception. It has been almost a year since the first case of COVID-19 occurred in Nevada County and since that date, the county has recorded 74 deaths and 4,203 cases of COVID (at the time of publication). Much like the international death toll, lives lost from COVID-19 in Nevada County are recorded anonymously as numbers not names. Most families have been unable to hold funerals or get support from family and friends.
“We cannot return those who have died to the living, but through this memorial, we can remember them and safeguard that they will not be forgotten,” said Dr. Scott Kellermann, public health officer of Nevada County. “Although their lives were shortened by this virus, we can continue to do in our lives what they demonstrated in theirs, by our sharing of love, compassion and mercy.”
The Nevada County Remembrance Memorial will ensure that community members who have lost their lives will be remembered. The memorial is a six-foot-high column woven of natural elements from Nevada County with a dedication inscribed on local granite. Manzanita rings, engraved to honor each of the 74 lost community members, hang from willow branches.
“Social distancing protocols and the need to protect the privacy of families who’ve lost loved ones has created a perfect storm of isolated grieving,” said Alicia Funk, one of the organizers of the memorial. “Collaborating with artists and community members to build this memorial has been healing to all of us and we hope it will help the community to grieve and move forward from this unimaginable year.”
A team of local artists and community members envisioned and donated their time to construct the memorial, including Peggy Wright, Lyssa Skeahan and Kevin Cowan of Other World Customs, Charles Kritzon, Sarah Regan and Alicia Funk. Sweet Roots Farm contributed the Willow branches, Liam Ellerby from the Curious Forge completed the metalwork, Grass Valley Sign provided the plaques and the Robinsons donated the local granite.
The community of Nevada County is invited to write messages of what they’ve lost during COVID-19 and send condolences to the families on paper tags attached to the memorial. Families that have lost loved ones can add obituaries and photos of their loved ones by going to http://www.nevadacountyremembers.com.
“In times of great distress, it is up to the community to band together with hope for the future,” added Funk.
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