Stratford mayor declares first Monday in March to be COVID-19 Memorial Day

It's been almost one year since the first official COVID-19 death in the United States, and Stratford was among the municipalities across the country to declare Monday as COVID-19 Memorial Day.
Dozens of people gathered in front of Town Hall Monday afternoon as Mayor Laura Hoydick proclaimed the first Monday of March to be COVID-19 Memorial Day in recognition of those who've died from the virus and those still suffering from the impact of it.
The United States Conference of Mayors encouraged municipal leaders to recognize the losses locally. It comes as the country surpassed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths last week, with 145 of them from Stratford.
The pain hit home at Town Hall just a few weeks into the pandemic with the death of finance director Jay Wahlberg.
"Both sides of the aisle for our town councilors respected him because he was just such a man of integrity and grace and just a really wonderful, really good guy and we miss him every day," says Hoydick.
Town employees joined elected officials and community members to mourn and reflect.
Rev. Simeon Law also gave thanks to all the essential workers who've stepped up and saved lives while putting their own health at risk.
"Kinda hopeful that we're turning a corner on this and we can get a handle on it but that doesn't mean that we forget about the individuals who unfortunately lost their life," says state Rep. Joe Gresko.
Hoydick says the hope is to make Monday's ceremony an annual tradition.