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Charleston memorial shines light on COVID victims

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 7:38 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - This holiday season, more than 200,000 families will have empty seats at their tables. They’re the families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

Monday, a group of people wanted to honor some of those lost right here in our region.

For Pamela Garrison, this is a personal tribute hitting home for many at this time of year.

She made posters filled with more than 200 ages and she matched the ages to the genders of each person who has died of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

“These are people, these are families, these are grandmas,” Garrison said. ”Moms, I have written 25-year-olds on here.”

Among these letters and numbers are some of Garrison’s loved ones, including a married couple.

“He passed away and a week later she passed away,” she said.

She decided to join a caravan with the West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign to honor the friends she lost.

They circled the Capitol for an hour with signs and photos of loved ones who have passed away.

On Pam Nixon’s poster is a photo of her cousin, John Jackson.

“He loved golfing and he also loved to cook on the grill,” Nixon said.

Jackson was a father, a husband and a grandfather.

Nixon said Jackson’s life, like those of so many in this pandemic, was taken too soon.

“There is going to be so many tables who will have an empty seat there,” Nixon said.

Both Nixon and Garrison want people to think of safety first this holiday season.

They hope when people cut their Thanksgiving turkey, they remember the families who are hurting.

“The head of households that carve their turkeys that are not there to carve their turkeys this year,” Garrison said. “The mothers, nobody can make a recipe like your mom, but they aren’t going to get that recipe. The granddads that tell all the hunting stories and the mining stories, they aren’t going to get told anymore.”

Organizers said the caravan is part of a week long memorial to those who have lost their lives to COVID.

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