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Pete’s Perspective: Honoring Lives Lost and Helping Our Community Heal

Pete’s Perspective: Honoring Lives Lost and Helping Our Community Heal

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

As we move toward the New Year, we reflect on 2022 as a time during which we gained good ground in our fight against the pandemic. Yet we also recognize the heartbreak behind each of the nearly 800 COVID deaths in Monterey County since March 2020. Our healthcare system is leading an initiative that is part of a larger tribute to honor those lives and to help our community heal.

The Rose River Memorial is a grassroots art movement that began in Southern California and has since expanded across the United States and beyond. Its simple goal is to create a red felt rose for every life lost to COVID and display the flowers in a way that brings communities together.

Red roses are the national flower of the United States, officially recognized as “the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity…” The memorial will recognize the individual and collective magnitude of what we have experienced with the creation of a display resembling a river of roses.

I invite you to join us as we launch the Rose River Memorial initiative. We will begin hosting rose making events this December as we prepare for the March 6, 2023 unveiling of our Monterey County COVID Memorial. All are welcomed to join in the rose making gatherings. They will pay tribute to family, friends, coworkers and colleagues no longer with us, while also helping participants heal through the collective building of this beautiful memorial.

Volunteers will use eco-felt to assemble the roses and mount them on large-scale recycled fishing nets. The powerful visual display of these hundreds of handcrafted roses will be the focal point of an inspiring event bringing the community together to honor our individual and collective COVID losses.

If you are interested in helping with the Rose River Memorial, email Our healthcare system is proud to take on this initiative and we welcome you to be part of what we are doing.

As we prepare to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, we do so with knowledge gained from the lessons of the pandemic and with much hope for the New Year and for the future. One of those great hopes is that the Rose River Memorial will bring an added measure of healing to our community.

Be safe and be well.

– Pete

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