white flags marked with messages honoring covid victims in the Brazos Valley line grassy area

Honoring lives lost to COVID-19

Center for Population Health and Aging hosts COVID-19 memorial with Brazos County Health District
April 11, 2022

The Texas A&M University Health Center for Population Health and Aging’s Community Connect for Health project, hosted a COVID-19 Memorial honoring individuals in the Brazos Valley who have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The event took place in the Brazos County Health District’s parking lot on Saturday, April 9, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The day before the event, volunteers placed 962 white flags in the grassy area adjacent to East William J. Bryan Parkway. The white flags represent the individuals in the Brazos Valley who passed from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Community members had the opportunity to honor friends and family lost by tying a blue ribbon with the person’s name to the flag.

In addition to the flag memorial, personnel from the center’s Community Connect for Health project team were available with information about COVID-19 vaccinations and the Brazos County Health District offered COVID-19 vaccinations on-site.

“We hear tragic stories from family members and friends who lost someone due to COVID-19. While many are moving forward from this pandemic, it is also important to reflect and pay tribute to those who died from this illness. The Brazos Valley COVID-19 memorial is an opportunity to remember and honor these individuals,” said Ninfa Peña-Purcell, PhD, MCHES, project manager for Community Connect for Health and Research Scientist with the Center for Population Health and Aging.

person extends a white flag with a photo of a man and a written message that says "Forever in our hearts! We miss you sooo much" and "Miss you Dada!" Baby Thomas

People tied blue ribbons to the white flags and left messages to honor loved ones lost to COVID-19.

Many community members shared photos and messages on the white flags to remember their loved ones.

Penny Rugg came to honor her husband Carl who passed away Christmas 2020 from COVID-19. “This memorial means a lot to me. With all the negativity surrounding COVID, it means so much that someone really remembers,” Rugg said.

Stephanie Bustos lost her father, Joe Garcia, New Year’s Day 2021. “He is never forgotten. We are still remembering him. He survived stage 4 colorectal cancer but didn’t survive COVID. We love and miss him,” Bustos said.

The memorial will remain for a week through April 15.

— Lauren Rouse

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