OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Senator Paul Rosino announced his plans to host a sunrise remembrance vigil for Oklahomans who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.

According to Sen. Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, the vigil is planned for Monday, March 6, which would’ve been his son’s 36th birthday, who passed away due to COVID-19 in July of 2021.

Those wanting to participate are asked to gather on the south plaza of the state Capitol before sunrise to remember the nearly 18,000 Oklahoma lives lost since the start of the pandemic.

“I cannot even begin to convey the depths of our family’s loss or the waves of emotion that we continue to experience, but I know there are thousands of Oklahoma families who are also grieving,” Sen. Rosino said.  “I don’t want this to be about politics.  This disease doesn’t discriminate based on politics, race, gender, age, or anything else. This is simply about coming together to remember our loved ones and to support one another.”

Rosino says anyone who has lost a friend or loved one is welcome to join and bring a photo or memento of their loved one to share with others. People will begin congregating at 6:00 a.m. and speakers and prayers will start at 6:30 a.m.

According to officials, Sen. Rosino was the first member of the Oklahoma Senate to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in March of 2020. He later began volunteering with the Oklahoma Blood Institute to give convalescent plasma for those with severe infections.

“After I had COVID-19, it was really important for me to find a way to connect and be of help to others trying to recover from the virus, so when OBI asked about donating convalescent plasma, I was grateful for the opportunity,” Rosino said.  “As we continue to process our family’s loss, I really wanted to find some way to acknowledge and include other families who are going through the same thing. This vigil is for Oklahomans to join in prayer and support each other as we remember our loved ones.”