The COVID-19 pandemic prevented many public gatherings, including funeral services. In Hamilton, a community memorial service is planned the evening of July 22nd to remember those who passed away during the pandemic, whether from COVID or some other cause.

The service will be outside, and is being organized by Marcus Daly Hospice and Sapphire Lutheran Homes. All are invited to gather at 7 p.m. Thursday on the Large Lawn of Sapphire Lutheran Homes, where there will be an invocation, special readings, music and refreshments. There will be a guest book to sign and those attending can have their loved one's name read during the service. You'll need to bring your own chairs or blankets.

Michelle Meyer, Licensed Hospice Social Worker at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, said, "Many in our community haven't been able to mourn the loss of a loved one due to the stress and strife of COVID-19 restrictions, and that's made their loss difficult and lonely. So we wanted to offer the community an event where they can come together to honor someone they've lost, and see that they're not alone."

The evening will be conducted much like the annual Tree of Lights gatherings at Marcus Daly Hospice during the Christmas season. The attendance is open to anyone from the Bitterroot Valley who experienced a loss during the pandemic. Sapphire Lutheran Homes is at 501 North 10th Street in Hamilton. Marcus Daly Hospice and Sapphire Lutheran Homes thank the event sponsors - Daly Leach Chapel, Brothers Mortuary, Flower Happy, Super One Foods, Sweat Pea Septic, Yellow Seahorse Recordings and Jeepfisher Films. For more information, contact MDMD Hospice at 406 375-4749 or Sapphire Lutheran Homes at 406 363-2800.

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