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Vigil honors those who have died from COVID-19

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 1:48 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Community partners from across Marathon County hosted a community vigil Tuesday night to honor those who have died from COVID-19. The event was held on the 400 Block in downtown Wausau.

It’s been a nearly two-year-uphill battle with COVID-19, and hundreds of people in Marathon Co. have lost the fight against the deadly disease, all of whom were signified with a beam of light to offer a sense of hope to those grieving. The health department said there were 300 candles lit at the 400 Block, marking a ‘grim milestone,’ of 319 dead from the community.

“It’s really something how much people have been impacted from COVID-19 in our community, and it continues to be an issue for our community,” Health Officer for Marathon County, Laura Scudiere said.

It’s an impact that one non-profit organization decided to illustrate and bring to the vigil. “Some of it is dark and heavy, and some of it creates a sense of hope,” Vice President for ‘RISE UP,’ Tara Draeger said.

“Some of us are still in denial, some of us are still grieving, some of us are ready to be done, and it’s ok to give space to some of those emotions to happen” Draeger added.

Emotions that don’t tread lightly for the Hispanic’s Community Coordinator, Tony Gonzalez, who lost his cousin from COVID-19 in Columbia. “[It was] very painful, and you know I think at this point, we are just a few degrees away from people that we know that die from COVID, and we got to cut that down.”

Gonzalez urges people to look at the bigger picture. “There’s a lot of people all around this world that are dying..they wish that they had the availability of the vaccine that we do here in the United States...we need to really protect ourselves and look around the world, it’s not just about here and what we see around tells us it is a reality and it needs to be taken care of.”

RISE UP is looking for people to share the journey of emotions that the pandemic brought on them.

The organization is hoping to start its new project, ‘Project Hope,’ in February. For more information on the project, click here.

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