Mercy Health-Youngstown to open COVID-19 memorial

Mercy Health–Youngstown (Ohio) and the health system's philanthropic arm, Mercy Health Foundation–Mahoning Valley, said they plan to establish a permanent COVID-19 memorial at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.  

The health system, part of Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health, announced the news March 11, the anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic. 

Mercy Health said the memorial will observe the COVID-19 pandemic and pay tribute to the lives lost during the public health crisis. It will also recognize healthcare workers who have cared for patients. 

"One year later and I don’t believe anyone could have predicted we would still be fighting the invisible enemy we know as COVID-19," John Luellen, MD, market president of Mercy Health–Youngstown, said in a news release. "Today, we remember those we lost, remind ourselves of the blessing to have survivors and the dedication of our healthcare workers, in all levels and health systems."

The memorial will feature a bronze sculpture by figurative artist Timothy Schmalz, whose pieces have been installed worldwide, including in churches in Rome and at the Vatican.

In addition to the sculpture, the memorial will feature three plaques — one honoring healthcare workers, one paying tribute to those affected and who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and one as a permanent historical marker. It will also include a time capsule that will be opened in 2120.

The Mercy Health Foundation–Mahoning Valley is accepting donations to fund the sculpture and memorial. The memorial is expected to be completed by September.

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