COVID bells

Pastor Doug Massingill passes the bell rope to church member Jean Stone at Wy’east Community Church in Odell, one of a number of locations in Hood River County to participate in the tolling of the bells to honor people who have died from COVID-19, at noon on Jan. 15. 

A number of locations in Hood River County participated in the tolling of the bells to honor people who have died from COVID-19, at noon on Jan. 15. The ritual was repeated on Jan. 22.

Belinda Ballah, who coordinated the bell-ringing project, said that at The History Museum of Hood River County, a mother and daughter brought a bouquet of flowers to honor a family member who had died due to COVID-19 in Texas. “They were not able to attend his funeral which was being held yesterday. They heard of the event and wanted to have a place to pay tribute to his life ... We rang the bell for their family member and shared some memories with them. It felt that in doing so, some healing was brought to them.”

Ballah said that Safeway “was taking a moment of silence at noon to honor those who had died.” Toby and Tavish Fenner are HRVHS seniors who rang the bell at Oak Grove Park.

In Odell at Wy'east Community Church, Pastor Doug Massingill offered a prayer calling on those present “to remember those families affected by this virus.” Massingill added, “It has touched all our lives in one way or another but, Father, remember those who have truly suffered as they have lost a loved one. Give them comfort and peace. We join together as a community as we go through these tiresome, burdensome times. Be with us, be with them.”