With the COVID-19 pandemic causing pain and suffering for so many over the last year, the Rotary Club of Croton-on-Hudson created a commemorative space for those in need of a moment of peace and reflection.
Rotarians and members of the Croton-on-Hudson Village Board gathered last Friday to unveil the new Dogwood Tree Grove memorial at Croton Landing. Officials said the memorial was conceived to honor the resilience the community demonstrated in overcoming the severe challenges presented by the fatal disease.
“The community really came together during a really difficult time,” said Rotary Club president Seaver Wang. “When we went out there to fulfill the needs of those affected by the pandemic, we found those in need of help were out there helping others too. It’s just very inspiring and it’s a testament to a great community.”
Seaver hopes that when people visit the memorial, which is three dogwood trees along the Hudson River surrounding a large, inscribed rock, they can remember the lives lost and those affected by the pandemic but also those who selflessness and willingness aided in others making it through another day.
Since March, there have been 762 cases of coronavirus in Croton, with five active cases as of Monday. Overall, 2,263 Westchester County residents have perished since the start of the pandemic.
“Even though the pandemic was a horrid thing that was worldwide, I think it really does highlight how fantastic people really can be in giving,” Seaver said. “Even though you had to be socially distanced, people really wanted to help, and we never found any pushback from the village to the mayor to the people whenever we asked for donations.”
During the commemoration ceremony, about two dozen residents gathered to pay tribute to the lives lost to COVID-19, honored past Rotarians, and sang “America the Beautiful.”
Mayor Brian Pugh implored that while those in attendance were there to recognize the over half-million COVID-19-related deaths in America, the victims of the virus are not a statistic. He said the lives lost must be honored but those who are still living and left behind must also be remembered.
“We now at long last have the power to end the pandemic that has taken so much from us,” said Pugh, whose grandmother Joan Furio died from COVID-19 in January. “I know I am not alone in having family members sickened and killed by coronavirus. We remember each person and the life that they lived. They are people that we knew; neighbors, friends and family.”