As the sun sets on March 20, Middle Township residents will add a little light, kindling candles at a community event that marks a year since COVID changed life dramatically.
The candle-lighting will be the culmination of “COVID at One Year: Light After Darkness,” to be held at the Ockie Wisting Recreation Complex starting at 6 p.m.
The event commemorates a year to the day Gov. Phil Murphy ordered statewide shutdowns of many businesses and services. Middle Township officials believe it’s an important occasion to acknowledge, both because of the residents who were lost to COVID and the community members who courageously stepped up as essential workers and volunteers. “It’s is only proper that we pause, as a community, to remember those we have lost and honor our hometown heroes,” Mayor Tim Donohue said. “One year after our world changed so drastically, we remain Middle Strong. We will gather to recognize our struggle and loss. But at the same time, we rekindle our spirit of unity and hope as we step together into a still challenging future.” Residents who attend the event at Ockie Wisting must follow social distancing protocols and wear masks, and are asked to stay with their groups. The event also will be live streamed on the Middle Township Facebook page. One of the most solemn moments of the night is expected to be the bell-ringing to remember each Middle Township resident lost to COVID. The bell that will be used was original to an old schoolhouse in Cape May Court House. The Great Commission Baptist Church is loaning the bell to the Township for the event.
Here’s an overview of the “COVID at One Year” program:
• Slideshow of 2020 in review, shown on screen
• Welcome by Committeeman Jim Norris
• National anthem and police honor guard
• Prayer of remembrance
• Remarks by Mayor and presentation of plaque to Cape Regional Medical Center expressing the gratitude of Middle Township residents
• Remarks by Deputy Mayor Ike Gandy and presentation of Middle Matters Awards
• Candle-lighting and ringing of bell to honor those lost
• Song of hope
• Closing prayer
If you would like your loved one to be included in the tribute to those lost to COVID, please email his or her name and photo to Special Events Coordinator Nancy McDevitt at firstname.lastname@example.org.