San Angelo Pastor creates memorial for COVID-19 deaths in Tom Green County

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SAN ANGELO, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands worldwide, but here at home one church is paying tribute to the families who have lost loved ones

As of Wednesday, September 29th the Tom Green County Health Department has reported the deaths of 279 Tom Green County residents from COVID-19.

Pastor Joe Bourgeois of West Baptist Church has so far lined open ground with 200 crosses in memorial to those people. The memorial was made in hopes of letting the families know their loved one is more than just a number.

“People that have died COVID of course were in the emergency room and then they were in ICU and family couldn’t go around and they were alone,” Pastor Joe Bourgeois of West Baptist Church said.

While that may be the case for many who have died due to COVID-19, being alone is not something Bourgeois wants for the families who mourn.

“We have a woman who thought that her husband who died last Thanksgiving was just a number, until his name was on one of these crosses,” Bourgeois said.

Some odd 200 crosses sit on a portion of land visible from the Loop in San Angelo.

“Right on our property, high enough where everybody can see it, to just remember everybody that has lost a life,” Bourgeois said.

The idea to create this memorial for those who have lost their life came to Bourgeois this spring. Since then, families in and out of the church have asked for their loved ones to be memorialized.

“We have a lady that her husband died, and she’s been up here a few times, but his birthday was just the other day,” Bourgeois said.

Though this gives families an outlet to remember, Pastor Bourgeois held back tears when asked what he feels when he looks at the memorial.

“I wish it would stop,” Bourgeois paused. ‘Because we’re making crosses to try to keep up with the numbers and it’s not stopping.”

But as the COVID-19 death count grows so will the number of crosses.

“There’s a cross out here and there will be a cross over here for everyone,” Bourgeois said.

He says anyone who would like a cross in memory of a loved one who’s died from coronavirus can contact the church.

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