Bakersfield man set to build memorial honoring lives lost to COVID-19 in Kern County

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield man is hoping to build a memorial to honor people in Kern County who lost their lives to COVID-19.

Kevin Russell, owner of the American Fabrication business in Rosedale, is the brains behind the project. “I don’t think you can bring people comfort, but knowing they’re not forgotten, we get a lot of gratification out of that,” Russell said, noting he was inspired to do the project after he lost his dear friend Victor Ramos Jr. in October 2020.

The memorial will include a three-part wall in front of the American Fabrication business featuring the names of people who have died of COVID-19 in Kern County.

“I’ll remember them every time I walk up. I’ll remember them many times,” he said.

This is not the first time Russell has led a project to remember those no longer living. In 2017, he constructed crosses and plaques in honor of every victim of the Route 91 mass shooting in Las Vegas. Roughly one year later, he did the same thing to honor those murdered in the Borderline Bar and Grill massacre in Thousand Oaks. He also honored the victims of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas mass shooting in 2018.

Now, he hopes the community will join his employees and him in their efforts to make sure every life lost during the pandemic is never forgotten. “This is really fulfilling,” he said.

As this is a community effort, Russell is asking the community to please send names of anyone who has died from COVID-19 to Michelle Bettis at mjlbettis@gmail.com.

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