Eisenhower Health Memorial Honors COVID-19 Victims

Kamari Esquerra

A special group of more than 1,000 fighters is being commemorated in the Coachella Valley- those who fought for, and ultimately lost their lives due to COVID-19.

“We haven’t seen or been through a global health pandemic like this for over 100 years,” said Martin Massiello, President and CEO of Eisenhower Health.

Eisenhower Health installed a COVID-19 memorial on its main campus in Rancho Mirage, marking the impact the virus has had across the nine cities in the valley. 

“We’re here to heal people and to make them better and we have experienced so much death over the last couple of years,” said Massiello. “I thought it was really important to never forget it and then to honor those people who really suffered and died through the pandemic.”

1,100 people have died due to COVID-19 in the Coachella Valley. They were relatives, friends, coworkers, and loved ones. 

“I think it is an important recognition and acknowledgement that a lot of people have lost their lives from COVID-19,” said Melanie Villeneuve, who lost her cousin to COVID-19 on Nov. 9. “We’re still shocked and in disbelief. It’s taken all of us by surprise.” 

The memorial, situated in the midst of a beautiful, yet calm landscape, surrounded by palm trees and a glistening waterfall, serves as a sign of peace for hospital staff and visitors. Every detail was carefully crafted; each of the five pillars representing significant individuals at Eisenhower Health.

“Eisenhower is all about 5 stars. That’s part of our logo,” Massiello. “We honored the people that have died, we honored the folks who survived, we honored our staff, our doctors and the community, and each pillar stood for one of those aspects.”

A cluster of stars engraved into each pillar serve as a symbol of hope.

“(The stars) ascend from the bottom and we hope to represent those lives we lost ascending to Heaven or a better place,” said Massiello. “It really is a place for healing and hope.”

Healing and hope for now, and for the future. 

“We’re in the middle still of the pandemic,” said Massiello. “We still have several patients in the hospital that are really sick, and I don’t know if that’s ever going to go away completely.”

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