By Matt de Simone
Botetourt County Department of Fire & EMS joined local neighbors and partners along with Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District in a COVID-19 Remembrance event to honor the work of first responders, medical professionals, volunteers and the over 900 community members lost to the COVID-19 virus.
The event held at Berglund Center last Tuesday commemorated the second anniversary of when the coronavirus first hit the area.
“We are so pleased to have so many of our primary care partners here today,” Virginia Department of Health Communications Officer Christie Wills said during the event. “Today is an opportunity to reflect and say ‘thank you.’”
In the video, a row of local emergency responders and medical professionals stood behind speakers who shared their thoughts on the events of the past two years within the medical and first responder communities. Behind those individuals were over 900 empty chairs filled with the memories of those lost to COVID-19 during the last two years.
“We are here today, on this second anniversary, as we grieve for over 930 of our fellow residents in the Roanoke-Alleghany Health District— friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors,” Botetourt Fire & EMS Chief Jason Ferguson noted in the video. “We hope the chairs, set up today each signify a precious life lost, serves as a visual tribute to the magnitude of the loss to our community.”
The event not only honored those who were lost, but also honored the members of the Roanoke-Alleghany Health District banding together to prevent the spread of the virus.
“It’s really important that we recognize that, while COVID has taken so much from us— including the 900 lives lost— it’s also given us an opportunity to work together,” Roanoke-Alleghany Health District Health Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow stated. “I think we owe it to those that we have lost to honor them by continuing hard work together to improve the well being of everyone in the Roanoke City-Alleghany Health District.
“I think the biggest positive is that we’ve really had the opportunity to get to know each other. We are such a committed community. Whether it’s our first responders, hospitals, human service agencies— we know we share one vision, and that is to protect and promote the well being of everybody. The silver lining is that we’ve improved our communication, our trust in each other, and we know that we can count on each other.”
To watch the video in its entirety, visit the Roanoke Valley Television RVTV-3 Facebook page.