Mercy Health - Youngstown and the Mercy Health Foundation – Mahoning Valley recognize the challenges those throughout the Mahoning Valley, our country and the world have faced over the last 12 months. Today, the health system and its philanthropic arm announced a permanent COVID-19 memorial that will be erected at Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.  

The memorial at the Youngstown hospital will permanently observe the global pandemic and represent a tribute to the loved ones we lost and continue to lose. Additionally, it will recognize the health care heroes among us who sacrificed greatly to care for the sick and dying in our community.  

“One year later and I don’t believe anyone could have predicted we would still be fighting the invisible enemy we know as COVID-19,” said John Luellen, M.D., market president, Mercy Health – Youngstown. “Today we remember those we lost, remind ourselves of the blessing to have survivors and the dedication of our health care workers, in all levels and health systems.” 

A central element of the memorial will a be 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 or will be installed in the Youngstown region, including “Homeless Jesus” to be installed at St. Columba Cathedral, “When I Was Naked” at St. John’s Episcopal Church and “When I was Hungry & 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.

This sculpture and the Mercy Health memorial will be funded by donations to the Mercy Health Foundation – Mahoning Valley. 

“This memorial is a testament to the continued generosity rooted in those living in the Mahoning Valley,” said Paul S. Homick, Jr., president, Mercy Health Foundation – Mahoning Valley. “The campaign has already begun and with the help of our community, we can permanently memorialize the significance of the COVID-19 pandemic while paying tribute to those who sacrificed greatly.”

Anticipated to be completed by September 2021, three plaques will be installed at the site: 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. 

Additionally, the memorial will include a time capsule that will be opened on March 11, 2120, one hundred years from the date of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For those interested in contributing to the Mercy Health COVID-19 memorial can make their donation by visiting the foundation website or calling 330-729-1180.