Gov. Beshear holds memorial ceremony for Kentuckians lost to COVID-19

“All of us, whether or not we’ve lost someone close to COVID, have been forever changed by...
“All of us, whether or not we’ve lost someone close to COVID, have been forever changed by these times,” said Gov. Beshear.(Gov. Beshear)
Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 3:39 PM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear held a memorial ceremony today for the 10,214 Kentuckians whose lives have been lost to the COVID-19 virus.

First Lady Britainy Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, religious leaders, health care heroes, the Lindsey Wilson College Singers and the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard also took part in the service.

“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,” said Gov. Beshear. “Right now, more than 10,000 of our neighbors are gone, and their loved ones are hurting, missing them, preparing for their first or second Thanksgiving with an empty seat at the table.”

Others who spoke at the memorial included Dr. Philip Overall from St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead and Jamar Wattley, registered nurse and PRN, at Baptist Health La Grange.

“Let us remember that it is that unity that will see this through and find us united as we work to put this battle behind us,” said Dr. Overall.

“These numbers represent the people I have cared for and the memories I have with them,” said Wattley.

Jacqueline Woodward, who lost her husband, Gary Woodward, to COVID-19, said she was there not only for her family, but for all the families that have lost loved ones across the state of Kentucky.

During the ceremony, Gov. Beshear announced that Kentuckian Amanda Matthews, artist and chief executive officer of Lexington-based Prometheus Foundry, has been commissioned to create the permanent Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial, to be located in Monument Park on the Kentucky State Capitol grounds.

A COVID-19 Memorial Advisory Panel, which included health care heroes, family members and loved ones of those lost and COVID-19 survivors, selected the final design for the memorial.

The memorial titled “United We Stand. Divided We Fall.” will commemorate Team Kentucky’s losses and sacrifices since March 2020 and remind future generations of the challenges Kentuckians overcame together.

The memorial will be encircled by lights that will first glow green when the sun sets, to symbolize empathy and compassion for the Kentuckians we have lost throughout the pandemic.

The Governor said health care 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 monument, which also is supported by donations to the Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial Fund.

To learn more, click here.

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