One Year Later: Odessans gather to honor health care workers, loved ones amid pandemic

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ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – A touching memorial happened tonight in Odessa.

Health care workers and families joined together at 7 P.M. to remember those who have died from COVID-19. They also paid tribute to those on the front lines of this pandemic.

12 months have passed since the pandemic first began. The pain is still present.

“The 365 good Odessa, Ector County folks who are with the lord now,” said Medical Center Health System CEO Russell Tippin.

“I’m here in rememberance of my husband, who we miss so much,” said Rachel Tenorio.

“It has impacted my life as well. I have lost loved ones. My friends have lost loved ones,” said Karla Austin.

“To honor the memory of those who have passed away from COVID, specifically my husband,” said Sonii Gonzales.

At the Memorial Gardens off 42nd Street, a somber service remembered those who lost their lives due to the Coronavirus.

Frontline workers from Medical Center Hospital and Odessa Regional Medical Center, who have been fighting this shared battle, received praise and appreciation.

“All who have lost this fight to the virus, I hope tonight provides some comfort and healing as we remember each and every one of them,” said Stacey Brown, president of ORMC.

Just as the sun began to set, people gathered around the pond. Dozens of laterns illuminated by small candles began floating out. As the night closed in, the pond became a beautiful reminder of the community.

“To help everybody grieve, we’re all going through the same pain,” said Tenorio.

“I think anytime you lose somebody, solidarity is important, and just having everyone here and showing strength is what healing is about,” said Gonzales.

“It brings tear to your eyes, but you get through it,” said James Brunson.

As the service began, it ended the same way: with silence, love, and appreciation. There is faith that this community will continue to move forward in ways it has done so in the past year.

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