Families remember those lost at Tempe COVID-19 memorial ceremony

Posted at 10:24 PM, Mar 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 00:24:24-05

TEMPE, AZ — The death toll from COVID-19 now tops six million worldwide. A group is paying tribute to the faces of COVID-19 in our state by helping remember those who we've lost.

The Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe hosted a ceremony outside to honor those who died from COVID-19 and those who survived tough battles with the virus. Inside, living memorials for those who died are on a wall and inside cases for the public to see.

Kathy Jones is one of nearly a million across the United States confirmed to have died from COVID-19.

Her face is featured on a quilt inside a museum where her nephew works.

"She got it. She went down in nine days. My mother got it. They were both in the hospital at the same time. I had to figure out what was going to happen next for me,” said Todd Bailey.

Bailey caught the virus around the time his aunt died. His mom survived her battle.

His mom was among many in the Valley honoring those not around to hear a song for them.

Sam Beeson found value in the group, "Arizona Marked by Covid," after his wife died last year.

"It became something I wanted to get involved with. I had to channel my sadness, anger, and frustration somewhere,” said Beeson.

He spotted his wife's square on a quilt upstairs.

"They all say the second year is harder than the first. The first year? I am numb. The second year is really... she is not around.” Added Beeson.

Tara Krebbs is the leader of the group, which organized the memorial.

"When I lost my father to COVID-19 in August of 2020, I felt really alone. I was grieving, but also lonely. I could not talk about it. I did not know if anyone else was going through that,” said Krebbs.

Krebbs is among those pushing to get a national COVID-19 Memorial holiday.

The Arizona Heritage Center will keep the quilts on display for six months. The public can see them Tuesdays through Saturdays.