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Yuma Regional Medical Center plans permanent COVID-19 memorial

It’s been about three years since COVID-19 first impacted Yuma residents. Now, Yuma Regional Medical Center has announced its plans to build a permanent memorial honoring community members who died from the virus.

The new memorial will break ground in May. Cathleen Wolff is director of spiritual care at the medical center. She said the structure will be an internally lit copper cylinder with more than 800 unique star cutouts.

"So at night, it will illuminate the stars on the concrete pavement," Wolff said. "It will also have benches for family members to sit and have a place to grieve and be with their loved ones.

She said the idea for the stars started in their intensive care unit.

“Our ICU staff would put up a star on a bulletin board for every life that was lost in that unit," she said. "Using that concept, we decided as a hospital community to continue that memorial outside of the hospital.”

The hospital plans to host a dedication ceremony when the memorial is completed, this winter.

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.