Sen. Rosino announces sunrise remembrance for Oklahoma pandemic losses
(For digital audio, go to www.oksenate.gov/audio)
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, announced plans to hold a remembrance vigil for Oklahomans who’ve lost loved ones from COVID-19. Rosino said people are asked to gather before sunrise on the south plaza of the state Capitol on Monday, March 6, which would have been his son Gregory’s 36th birthday. He passed from COVID on July 4, 2021, one of nearly 18,000 Oklahoma deaths attributed to the virus since it first was detected in the state in 2020.
“I cannot even begin to convey the depths of our family’s loss or the waves of emotion that we continue to experience, but I know there are thousands of Oklahoma families who are also grieving,” Rosino said. “I don’t want this to be about politics. This disease doesn’t discriminate based on politics, race, gender, age, or anything else. This is simply about coming together to remember our loved ones and to support one another.”
Rosino said he encourages anyone who has lost a friend or family member to join in the early morning vigil, and bring a photo or memento of their loved one to share with others. People will begin gathering at 6:00 a.m., and prayers and speakers will begin at 6:30 a.m.
Rosino was the first member of the Oklahoma Senate to be diagnosed with COVID-19 back in March of 2020. A month later, he began volunteering with the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) to donate convalescent plasma to help patients with serious infections.
“After I had COVID-19, it was really important for me to find a way to connect and be of help to others trying to recover from the virus, so when OBI asked about donating convalescent plasma, I was grateful for the opportunity,” Rosino said. “As we continue to process our family’s loss, I really wanted to find some way to acknowledge and include other families who are going through the same thing. This vigil is for Oklahomans to join in prayer and support each other as we remember our loved ones.”