As tribute to those who lost their lives to COVID-19 and in recognition of the health care teams who cared for them, Mercy Health – Youngstown and the Mercy Health Foundation – Mahoning Valley are honored to dedicate a memorial that will serve as a permanent observance of the global pandemic.

The memorial has been erected on the campus of Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and includes a statue and three plaques – one honoring caregivers, one as a memorial to those affected and who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and one serving as a permanent historical marker. 

The memorial also includes a time capsule that will be opened on March 11, 2120, one hundred years from the date of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Youngstown. 

“For more than two years, we have used words such as ‘unprecedented’ and ‘crises’ to describe what we have endured, so it is only fitting that we always remember this time and those who perished due to this virus,” said John Luellen, MD, president of Mercy Health – Youngstown. “As we dedicate this memorial, let us hold in our hearts those we lost and remind ourselves of the sacrifice of those health care workers who entered the unknown every day to ensure that our community received the best possible care.”

A central element of the memorial is a bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz, a world-renowned artist with international installations at churches, cathedrals and the Vatican. The sculpture, titled "When I Was Sick," is part of a series by Schmalz. 

Several of the sculptures in this series have been installed in the Youngstown region, including "Homeless Jesus" at St. Columba Cathedral, "When I Was Naked" at St. John’s Episcopal Church and "When I Was Hungry and Thirsty" at First Presbyterian Church. There are other organizations looking to install the last two sculptures in this series, making the City of Youngstown one of only a few cities in the world to be home to all six sculptures.

The memorial was made possible through generous donations to the Mercy Health Foundation – Mahoning Valley. 

“We are grateful to our community and donors for supporting this beautiful, historical monument that commemorates the pandemic that we have all been through together,” said Paul S. Homick, Jr., president of Mercy Health Foundation – Mahoning Valley. “Our desire is that this monument becomes a place of peace, prayer and remembrance that brings comfort and healing."