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Memorial service held for nearly 300 Vermonters who died from COVID-19

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 7:51 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2021 at 11:39 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - It was an emotional day for hundreds of Vermont families at the Statehouse Sunday, as Vermont Interfaith Action read the names of their lost loved ones.

“To you, it might be a number, another death. To me, it’s my mother,” said Carole Ann Wooster of Burlington.

Wooster’s mom is one of nearly 300 Vermonters who have died from COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

She gathered with other Vermont families at the Statehouse Sunday to honor the lives of loved ones lost to the virus and encourage people to do their part to prevent any more.

“I wanted to come here and honor her and also talk about how important it is to continue to wear a mask or get your vaccination,” said Wooster.

“Both -- get vaccinated and wear a mask,” added Bob Clark of Burlington.

The service was hosted by Vermont Interfaith Action with the goal of healing broken hearts when finding a space to heal is difficult.

“We’d like it to be a time of paying our respects, especially for the family members who may not have been able to have a service with their loved ones individually because of the virus,” said Debbie Ingram, the executive director of Vermont Interfaith Action.

Pam Boyd lost her husband, and Jennifer Boyd lost her father to COVID-19 in April. The two men were twins and died days apart.

“We want to thank the nurses and doctors that could be there with them because Jenny and I both ended up with COVID, and we couldn’t be there, and I want to thank them for being there and holding my husband’s hand,” said Pam Boyd of Windham County.

The family says this memorial also serves as a reminder that behind the COVID-19 death statistics are real people with family and friends who miss them tremendously.

“To let people know this is still around and it’s real, it’s very real,” said Boyd.

“People think it’s just a joke. Well, I saw what COVID can do to somebody, and it’s not pretty,” said Jennifer Boyd.

Vermonters say celebrating the lives of their lost loves ones with the community is what has helped them get through this extremely difficult time.

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