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More than 5,000 candles were lit Friday night vigil in the first memorial sponsored by county government to residents who died from Coronavirus.

Cutouts of doves imprinted with the message “Forever loved forever missed” were placed around the lake behind the Costa Mesa Avenue of the Arts Hotel in the 7:30 p.m. gathering with more than 50 attendees. 

Some people who came carried with them photos and flowers in honor of loved ones who died of the virus. Violinist Richard Adkins and Violette Remington sang to open and close the ceremony.

The memorial service was hosted by County Supervisor Katrina Foley, marking the first time any county official memorialized residents killed by the virus. Foley was not in attendance due to a family emergency, said Foley’s Chief of Staff Debbie Lumpkin.

Foley, who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in March, said earlier this week she hopes next week’s statewide reopening doesn’t dim the memory of the dead. No other Supervisors mentioned the memorial during Tuesday’s supervisors meeting or attended Friday’s event.

Memorial speakers included Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the OC Health Care Agency; Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine); John Stephens, Costa Mesa Mayor; Farrah Kahn, Irvine Mayor; Kim Carr, Huntington Beach Mayor; Tiffany Ackley, Aliso Viejo Mayor; Mike Ramirez, United Food and Commercial Workers (Local 324); Susan Johnson, Health Ministries and Nursing Outreach (Hoag); Walter Muneton, social worker and vice president of the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education; Julie Robles, Orange County Sheriff’s Department; Tim Taber, local business owner.

Violinist Richard Adkins played pieces such as “Largo from Winter” and “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring” at the memorial that honored all of the lives lost during the pandemic in Orange County on June 11, 2021. Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC
First responders as well as speakers that resented healthcare professionals and grocery store workers were in attendance at the memorial. Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC
As of June 11, the virus has killed 5,095 people in Orange County, according to OC Healthcare agency data. Flowers and pictures of loved ones were placed a memorial that took place near the lake behind the Avenue of the Arts hotel in Costa Mesa on Friday night. Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC
County Supervisor Katrina Foley encouraged those attending the memorial to bring flowers and photos of thier loved ones who were killed by the virus. (Omar Sanchez / Voice of OC) Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC
Jordi Jandorf, a Disney employee who was recently furloughed a second time, brought a picture of her father John Nesi, who is pictured next her daughter. Nesi died of coronavirus this past winter. Jandorf said that she got married to her husband near the location of the memorial and also mentioned another photo of her and her father close to the location as well. “It felt right to come here,” Jandorf said. Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC
Debbie Lumpkin, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Katrina Foley, announced at the beginning of the memorial that Foley wasn’t going to be in attendance due to a family emergency. Lumpkin said that Foley was heavily involved in the organization of the ceremony held on Friday. Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC
A little over 50 people were in attendance at the memorial that honored all of the lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic in Orange County on June 11, 2021. Credit: OMAR SANCHEZ, Voice of OC

Voice of OC Reporter Spencer Custodio contributed to this article.

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