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Hartford Remembers First Resident To Die In Pandemic

Chion Wolf
Connecticut Public Radio

In March 2020, Connecticut and the nation went into lockdown as the coronavirus began to spread. A year later, the state is commemorating sad milestones from those early pandemic days. 

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin hosted an event to honor the life of Lorraine Whalen, a 93-year-old resident who lived in the city for decades. Whalen died March 25, 2020, from COVID-19 complications -- the first Hartford resident whose life was claimed by the pandemic. Bronin took the opportunity to send a message to her family and the city’s residents. 

“Since that day one year ago, 283 of our neighbors and friends in Hartford … have lost their life,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a person in this city who hasn’t lost someone they called a friend, loved or called family.” 

Saturday, the city remembered those lives lost by floating 1,000 candles in the Bushnell Park pond. In the coming weeks, anyone who has lost a loved one to the virus can decorate a #LoveHartford wooden heart to be displayed in the Hope Gardens. 

The mayor hopes these efforts will give families the time and space to grieve. He notes that the pandemic has made it hard for everyone to gather and remember those they have lost. However, the city is making an effort to unite everyone in this time of sorrow. 

“A part of our recovery will be remembering and never forgetting those who we have lost,” Bronin said. 

Whalen’s children spoke about her life and legacy. One of her daughters, Loretta Carter, took the microphone to speak directly to the community. 

“Get your vaccines and take care of your loved ones,” she said.

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