Austin Man’s Unique Memorial for COVID-19 Deaths in Texas
I started my day off thinking I needed some good news.
Every time I turn on the news or log onto social media, I'm overwhelmed with all the negativity. It comes from all sides and I need a good news story to focus my attention on.
Earlier I wrote about a doctor in Corpus Christi who is retired but volunteers his services twice a week at a free clinic to help those who can't afford medical care.
I also found this story from FOX 44 News of a guy in Austin who has literally turned his yard into a memorial for Texans who have died from COVID-19. His name is Shane Reilly, and he lives in central Austin.
According to KXAN, Reilly started this project in May 2020. Reilly has planted a red, white or pink flag for every Texan who has passed from COVID-19. Reilly says,
“I thought: ‘How do I visually represent it? These are real people and there’s a lot of them.”
As of now, Reilly has more than 32,000 flags planted in his yard and as been adding more than 200 flags per day.
“I think I started with 972, I never thought that I’d be hunting for places to put flags,” said Reilly.
This is personal for Reilly as his son, who's 17, is immunocompromised, meaning he has an impaired immune system and getting sick could kill him. “This isn’t just a flag, this is someone’s mom or dad. That’s somebody’s friend that died.”
Reilly is running out of room in his yard as COVID-19 deaths in Texas continue to rise. He's like to move his memorial to the Texas Capitol lawn and has set up a
GoFundMe page to help pay for that potential move.
CBS News featured Reilly in a report back in December. It's a shame he keeps having to add flags. While it's certainly not good news that there are so many flags, it's at least a story about someone ensuring that the lives lost to this virus aren't casually dismissed or forgotten.