Beshear unveils COVID-19 memorial honoring lives lost

Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 5:11 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - More than 10,000 people who lost their lives to COVID-19 were remembered on Sunday.

“These lives and the people they leave behind deserve the dignity and the compassion that we all must muster,” Governor Andy Beshear said.

As Kentucky crossed milestone number of deaths, Beshear related the loss to an entire city being wiped out.

“Imagine losing the entire population of Versailles,” Beshear said.

One of those 10,000 who lost their life was Gary Woodward. His wife, Jacqueline, spoke about the sacrifice he gave working on the front lines of the pandemic as a hospital nurse.

“He loved his patients, he loved caring for others, and his team knew they could always depend on him,” Woodward said.

The father and grandfather had a nearly 26-year career in healthcare. He died of COVID before a vaccine was made.

“We had already talked about it,” Woodward said. “We both knew that we were going to take that vaccine. We knew that was going to be what we needed to do, so that we could continue to be here.”

To remember Woodward and the countless others who have lost their lives because of the pandemic, a new memorial will be installed on state house grounds in six months.

“It’s going to be a place where people can process their grief,” Beshear said. “It’s going to be a place where they can talk about a lost loved one with their kids.”

That memorial is being paid for through the generosity of healthcare facilities across the state.

Beshear said he hopes that the memorial serves as a reminder for all Kentuckians to continue to hold compassion for one another, especially those who lost someone because of COVID.

“If you go back to that very first loss, all of us throughout this state were hurting for that family,” Beshear said. “Well, the last person we lost is just as important.”

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