Rebecca Heiss and Dermot Jevens say they couldn’t just sit back and listen to the numbers of deaths related to the coronavirus. They wanted to find a way to pay tribute to the lives lost, so the pair developed a memorial website to share the names and stories of the victims behind the numbers.
The website is called Mourning America , and the creators hope to commemorate all the American lives lost in the pandemic.
Lives like Steve Evans, 52, of Castle Rock, Colorado.
“He was the kindest person I knew and not because he was my dad. Just because he was genuinely kind,” wrote a loved one about Evans on the website.
“He was a dynamic preacher. An awesome musician. He is just a great guy,” wrote a loved one of Albert Barber, 39, of Detroit, Michigan.
For 24-year-old Ben Hirschmann of Fraser, Michigan, loved ones will remember “his laughter, his smile, his heart.”
Ed Turken, a World War II veteran, died at the age of 96 to the novel coronavirus.
“Big personality, so kind, fun to be around,” read a tribute to Turken on the website.
Those are just a few names and faces of the thousands of Americans who have lost their lives.
“We found ourselves feeling helpless, angry, and just deeply saddened as we watched the numbers of deaths increase daily,” said the creators of Mourning America. “These weren’t just numbers; these were people."
Now, Heiss and Jevens have made it their mission to memorialize coronavirus victims.
“Everybody is trying to do what they can, and this was something we could do,” Heiss said.
“We did not want to see their stories lost,” Jevens added.
Stories like Leilani Jordan’s.
“A 27-year-old grocery worker in Maryland. Her name is Leilani Jordan,” Jevens explained. “She has cerebral palsy and her story was that she wanted to go and take care of elderly people who were going shopping, and she ended up catching coronavirus and dying.”
Every person they can find that didn't survive the virus is indicated by a red dot on the website.
They hope to gather as many stories as possible to go with the names.
The couple is doing this with no motivation other than making sure people have a place to grieve, offer condolences and remember.
“We're hoping that people can find some comfort in that,” Jevens said.
Anyone can submit a name on the website MourningAmerica.org. Family and friends can share stories and pictures if they wish.
The couple says they are verifying submissions through obituaries and local news outlets.