ST. MARYS, Ga. — Years from now, how will you remember the pandemic, and what will your community do to honor those who saved lives and those who died?
In St. Marys, residents are working to create a pandemic memorial park. The plan is to plant live oaks, but they need to raise the money first.
"They're going to be beautiful," said Allan Giese, chairman of the Remembrance Park Tree Planting Project.
Giese is one of the people who wants to plant 25 live oaks around St. Marys Recreational Park to create the pandemic memorial park. The plan is to also put in an irrigation system and benches.
"It's going to be remembrance of those who gave so much and a serene place for memorializing those who have died," Giese began. "But also a place to gather new life with all of the activity that's in the park."
The park has several sports fields, a basketball court, a skate park, a playground and a dog park.
"They're not going to reflect by themselves, they're going to be filled with children and families around them," Giese said. "Life! Because the pandemic shouldn't be remembered as something of death; it should be remembered as something that brought us together."
Giese said a committee was formed to figure out how to memorialize the pandemic and the park was the solution they came up with, which they received a proclamation for.
"I tell the students, 'This isn't for you,'" Giese said. "'This isn't for your children. This is for your grandchildren.'"
Plenty of people are on board, but they have to raise money for the trees. Betty King hopes her story, which was put into a video for the project, can help.
"My husband died in January of COVID, for sure," King said in the video. "And I know other people also in not only my family, but neighbors who have passed away. Sometimes when bad things happen to you, you think you're alone, but you're not, because this community really steps forward."
With each tree seed, they plan to step forward together.
They need to raise $25,000 to plant the trees before April and are less than half way there.