Website that Made Headlines in Spring by Posting Tributes to Victims Spearheading Drive to Remember the Fallen with National Observance
With support from the nation, its leaders and the business community, March 7th will be declared a national holiday in honor of Americans who died fighting the coronavirus. At least that is the hope of Drs. Dermot Jevens and Rebecca Heiss, the couple who made headlines last spring by launching the Mourning America website. The platform, self-funded and non-profit, allows any family or friend to post a tribute to someone they lost due to the pandemic. With more than 300,000 Americans now dead -- and expected to surpass 500,000 by this spring -- Jevens and Heiss have stepped up their efforts to create a permanent way to remember the fallen. Their site is encouraging people to join a petition to declare a “National Day of Remembrance” on March 7 -- the first-time global cases surpassed 100,000. To sign up, click HERE.
“More people have died from COVID that any war or event in US history,” said Jevens. “As sad as this is, it’s also now a part of our history and fabric of the nation. We must honor those we have lost their lives because of this disease.”
“The numbers are only going up as we head into winter, which means we must act now while the devastating consequences are before our eyes,” said Heiss. “Declaring a ‘National Day of Remembrance’ not only honors the victims but reminds us how precious life can be and that we’re all vulnerable. We call on all Americans to visit the site and sign the petition to memorialize this day. It’s the least we can do to show our love, sympathy and remembrance.”
Jevens and Heiss are working to bring attention and support to this cause. In addition to encouraging people to sign the petition, they are reaching out to government and business leaders to support a national holiday. Doing such requires enormous buy in from the business community, which must weigh loss productivity, sales and traffic.
“We’re all Americans,” said Heiss. “The business community knows firsthand how COVID has reshaped the world, and not for the better. But we’ve seen remarkable resilience, from companies retaining all their employees during the pandemic to donating supplies, supporting healthcare workers and even creating the vaccines that will save lives. We’re counting on them to support us in making sure the lives lost, the sacrifices made and the humanity that has emerged are not lost in vain.”
Since its launch in 2020, www.mourningamerica.org, whose tagline is “More than Just a Number,” has collected tributes of victims throughout the country, including patients and healthcare workers. It was created by Jevens and Heiss, who sought to aid the fight against the virus with a platform to remember the victims. The couple, based in South Carolina, have no official role in managing the crisis. They are just one couple doing what they can to help. “Seeing the number of victims rise daily was heartbreaking,” said Jevens. These were people - parents, doctors, grocery workers, sisters... They were all more than a number.”
“MourningAmerica.org is our way of giving people a voice at a time when they need it most,” said Heiss. “People are trapped at home, unable to be with their loved ones, and are now experiencing profound loss. We hope this platform allows them a much-needed way to share their feelings and honor the victims of this deadly disease.”
Dr. Dermot Jevens is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and entrepreneur who currently serves as Treasurer/ Secretary for the American Animal Hospital Association. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, Collaboration and Innovation for Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, where he was responsible for culture development, all specialty recruiting and innovation at a 41-hospital specialty and ER network. Jevens also served as founder/ CEO of Upstate Veterinary Specialists, a multi-specialty animal hospital with locations in Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC.
Dr. Rebecca Heiss, Ph.D. is founder and CEO of Icueity, a mobile application that focuses on building self-awareness (available in June). Her new book, Instinct, will hit shelves in 2021. Heiss is a highly sought-after keynote speaker who uses her background in evolutionary biology to inspire people to break free of limiting, fear-based behaviors.