On Thursday, March 12, the anniversary of New York’s first recorded case of COVID-19, elected officials, first responders and people from the community gathered at JCC of Mid-Westchester (JCCMW) for a socially distant, outdoor candlelight ceremony to memorialize the more than 500,000 Americans who lost their lives, including JCCMW cherished employee and New Rochelle resident, Cathy Klein.
Karen Kolodny, CEO of JCCMW, led the remarks reflecting on the challenges the community faced over the last year and remembering JCCMW’s treasured employee, Cathy Klein.
“We want to acknowledge the difficult year we have had and recall with fondness those we have lost to COVID-19. We also acknowledge that every day we have is a blessing,” said Kolodny. “Unfortunately, the JCC lost a valued employee this year - someone who worked here for more than 30 years, Cathy Klein. We will always cherish Cathy's memory. Her kind and gentle way with patrons and colleagues will be missed.”
When the city of New Rochelle became one of the first COVID-19 epicenters in U.S., JCCMW, like many nonprofits and businesses, did not reopen until months later. Thursday’s ceremony was a time to reflect on events of the past year, remember those lost and express gratitude for the health and safety of the community especially for our frontline health workers. JCCMW is the largest community center serving New Rochelle where the virus was first detected in New York State.
During the event, five memorial candles were lit by community members, including Cathy Klein's daughter Lauren Klein, JCCMW nursery school teacher Renya Glab, JCCMW’s gymnastics program director Tiffany Smith and gymnast Charlotte Bonano, New Rochelle Detective Francesco Provenzale and National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Ryan.
In attendance, were first responders who were on the frontlines during the first year of the pandemic and elected officials including, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, New York State Assembly Member Amy Paulin and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. Teachers, local clergy, and members of the National Guard were also in observance.