Ohio COVID memorial grove to serve as ‘a symbol of hope,’ DeWine says

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz dedicated a new memorial tree grove Friday, April 30, 2021, in honor of the victims and survivors of COVID-19 as well as all Ohioans who made personal sacrifices to protect others amid the coronavirus pandemic. During the ceremony, DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine and Mertz planted the first tree in the new grove. CONTRIBUTED
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz dedicated a new memorial tree grove Friday, April 30, 2021, in honor of the victims and survivors of COVID-19 as well as all Ohioans who made personal sacrifices to protect others amid the coronavirus pandemic. During the ceremony, DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine and Mertz planted the first tree in the new grove. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Gov. Mike DeWine wants a memorial grove of 15 tree honoring coronavirus victims and survivors to serve as a symbol of hope.

“I think they should also symbolize the resiliency of the people of Ohio,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot. We have a little more to go. But we will come out of this, and we will be strong. We will not forget those who we have lost, but we will push on to make this a better state for everyone.”

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The trees were dedicated during a ceremony Friday afternoon at Great Seal State Park in Chillicothe.

The trees are being planted by COVID survivors, families of Ohioans killed during the pandemic, health care workers, first responders, educators, students, representatives from the Ohio National Guard, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and Ohio Emergency Management Agency and other essential workers.

DeWine said the grove will be a memorial for loved ones lost to the virus and to all the sacrifices everyone made during the pandemic.

“We honor so many different people today,” he said. “We have each group really represented here.”

From grocery store employees and other essential workers to the first responders and health care workers, the governor called out the heroic work, as well as strength and perseverance Ohioans have shown for the last year.

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The site at Great Seal State Park was selected due to the region’s importance in Ohio history.

“This is sort of where it all began. This part of Ohio where the Shawnee, our Native Americans, came together with the settlers,” DeWine said. “To have it here, a place of remembrance, seemed to be appropriate.”

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