TULSA, Okla. — In October 2020, Toby Gregory created a field of about 1,000 crosses in his front yard.
One cross for each Oklahoman who passed away due to COVID-19. The memorial deeply moved the community.
Since then, the Oklahoma State Health Department reported over 1,800 COVID-19 related deaths.
Gregory and a friend of his, April Brooks, are now looking for a new location for the memorial to honor the growing number of lives lost to the coronavirus.
"We want to take this project bigger and make it visible to more people," Brooks said.
They called the memorial, 'The Oklahoma COVID-19 Remembrance Project.'
Gregory and Brooks are searching for a piece of land about 2,000 square feet to house the memorial through the holidays to January. Gregory and six other volunteers already crafted about 1,100 crosses to date.
"We have another 900 to paint," Gregory said.
Brooks and Gregory created a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the materials needed to make the crosses. All proceeds will go to nonprofits that offer grief support to Oklahomans who lost loved ones to COVID-19.
Pam Lay is a Tulsa resident who recently lost her father to the coronavirus.
"For me, personally, I believe each one of these deaths represents a life worth living and cut short prematurely due to this horrible disease. They all had more to give this world," shared Lay. "A memorial recognizes their sacrifice and helps us remember how vitally important they were to our world. A piece of our hearts left with them. Never forgotten."
Gregory and Brooks hope that "The Oklahoma COVID-19 Remembrance Project" will bring healing to a state during a very difficult pandemic.
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