A memorial donning the faces of those who have lost their battle against COVID-19 lines a stretch of road in Sinton, Texas.
The tribute, which was first put up on Thursday, Sept. 2, can be found on Villareal Street. Along with 19 pictures of people from the community who have lost their lives during the pandemic, it is also surrounded by flowers and a cross.
Jennifer Puente, the Sinton resident who first erected the memorial, said she originally set out to do so because she didn’t want the families to feel alone anymore, especially during a time when there’s little to do in the way of formal support.
“Normally most of us are able to attend a service, a rosary, a burial or contribute some kind of emotional support,” said Puente, “but with the challenges we have been faced with and with multiple families we would like to have reached out to, in their time of need, we just can’t.”
Puente ultimately wanted the families to know that they and their loved ones, or ‘COVID angels’ as she refers to them, are not forgotten and that the community is still there for them.
The response to the memorial from the community has ignited a fervor in the small town, with cars parked on the side of Villareal Street, and families honoring those lost. The pictures of the victims themselves feature ages ranging from their 40s to 80s.
“I personally do not know most of these COVID angels, but that doesn’t mean their story wasn’t important to someone,” Puente added. “When something tragic happens we hold memorials, we honor the fallen, we honor the lives that have been taken and this is my way of honoring each of them.”
Puente said that 23 new pictures will be placed at the tribute site soon, in honor of the almost two dozen more residents who have fallen victim to COVID-19.
“We are in this fight together,” Puente concluded, “and I wanted them to be reminded that no one is in this fight alone.”