LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — While spending the pandemic on the front lines and preparing future doctors to work on the front lines, faculty and staff at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine got to see the impact COVID-19 had on people.
The WVSOM Stress Task Force wanted to address the pain of losing a loved one during the pandemic and support each other through that pain.
“So, we decided to come up with a simple event where we could all come together and be active and create something beautiful on campus,” said Julianna Quick, a student counselor, learning specialist, and a member of the Stress Task Force at WVSOM.
Quick said nothing prepared her for the 700 bags they lined the field with, since many of them were dedicated to lost loved ones by students, faculty, and staff.
Austin Martin lost his grandfather in December of 2020, just two days after finishing the semester.
“And I am here to pay tribute to him and keep him at the front of my memory. I’m wearing his hat, I’m wearing his jacket and I am just trying to think about him right now,” said Martin, a first year student at WVSOM.
Martin said if there was any silver lining it was the opportunity he got which many did not during the pandemic.
“I am just happy that I was able to be there with him for his last breaths,” said Martin.
Martin said the day truly means a lot to him. Earlier in the day, he attended his first in-person lecture and getting to honor his grandfather like this is something he will never forget.
“Everyone’s affected by it, so it’s just great that the school came up with a way to come together in such a difficult time and to remember our loved ones and to be there for each other. It just means the world,” said Martin.