Memorial honoring those lost to COVID-19 finds permanent home at Wall Township farm

The creator of the COVID-19 memorial that once lined the sand at Belmar Beach found a permanent home for it thanks to the generosity of a Wall Township farm.

News 12 Staff

Aug 9, 2021, 4:58 PM

Updated 987 days ago

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The creator of the COVID-19 memorial that once lined the sand at Belmar Beach found a permanent home for it thanks to the generosity of a Wall Township farm.
The memorial began with a few rocks and clam shells but grew into a large memorial with 3,100 names inscribed on the rocks. Each name represents a life, a loved one, a mom, dad, son, or daughter, brother or sister who died from COVID-19.
Creator Rima Samman knew she needed a home for the memorial once the summer crowds arrived at the beach.
A volunteer who works at the Allaire Community Farm heard about the memorial and asked the owners to have it moved here.
After a few meetings, the farm welcomed the memorial. Volunteers helped put it back together again on Saturday under a pavilion for the public to see.
"My biggest concern was not being able to make it permanent because I knew that it would be just heartbreaking to the families to have those victims, so it was very important to me. It was a lot of pressure, but I'm really, really happy that we made it work," Samman said.
"It's a sad reminder of a horrible thing that happened to our country, to the world, and so if we can make people who come to visit for loved ones feel a little better, maybe they come to the memorial or go pet an animal, do a little animal therapy, maybe do a horseriding lesson, whatever we can do to help heal broken hearts, we're happy to do that," said JoAnn Burney, of Allaire Community Farm.
The Allaire Community Farm opened 3 1/2 years ago and helps those with post-traumatic stress disorder, special-needs groups and veterans
Boxes that contain the rocks and shells will be covered and moved next to a garden area that is still in planning stages.
A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Sept. 17.


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