Community gathers at memorial on the anniversary of Bulloch’s first COVID-19 death


Fernanda Camacho Hauser

Mayor McCollar addresses the community at a COVID-19 memorial at the Bulloch County Courthouse on April 11. This day marked the one-year anniversary of Bulloch’s first death caused by COVID-19.

Fernanda Camacho Hauser, Correspondent

County officials and community gathered to honor those lost to COVID-19 on the lawn of the Bulloch County Courthouse on Sunday, the one year anniversary of Bulloch County’s very first COVID-19 death.

“I thought it was a beautiful ceremony,” shared Jonathan McCollar, Mayor of Statesboro, after the service, “I thought it was timely, and significant of the fact that this is one year to the day that we lost our first life within this community.”

The now 111 lives lost to COVID-19 in the last year were represented in the six rows of crosses with yellow and red COVID-19 awareness ribbons in front of the courthouse which stood in clear view of the Sunday memorial.

111 crosses with red and yellow COVID-19 ribbon fill the courthouse lawn in honor of the 111 people lost to the virus over the past year.

“This has been a tough 365 days, and in these 365 days we’ve lost 111 souls that called Bulloch county home,” said McCollar, “These are our friends. These are our family members. These are the individuals that we worked and lived and played with.”

The speakers included religious and local government officials of the community who spoke on the hardships of the last year and stressed the importance of working together to keep case numbers low until the pandemic fully passes.

The chairman of the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners, Ray Thompson, shared an anecdote about his family’s experience with the pandemic after his wife contracted COVID-19, “I was with my wife today, after services, […] but I was looking at her and I said, ‘what would I do without her?”

Members from religious institutions all about Statesboro came together at the service to share sermons, readings of poems and songs, all to honor those lost to the virus.

“It was a beautiful service, and I’m so proud of our community for coming together to honor the people who have passed and for being particular and kind and wearing masks and getting vaccinated,” said Laney Jacobs, an attendee at the memorial service. 

“I think it was appropriate in that it really served the purpose for this community to move us towards healing,” said Captain Carl Ramey of Statesboro Police Department, “While we can’t restore the lives that are lost, we can honor them.”