Lackawanna Heritage Valley Hosts Luminary Memorial Walk to Honor Lives Lost to Pandemic

Lackawanna Heritage Valley will honor the more than 400 Lackawanna County residents who have lost their lives over the past year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, through a self-guided, luminary-lit walk along their Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Scranton. The event will take place on Tuesday evening, March 23, to mark the one year anniversary of the first life lost to the ongoing pandemic in Lackawanna County.

From 7 p.m. through 9 p.m., the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail will be lit by candlelight from the 7th Avenue Trailhead through to the Broadway Trailhead, a half-mile section of the popular trail in Scranton. This event is free to attend and is meant to be experienced as a self-guided walk at one’s own leisure. One luminary will be placed along the trail in honor of every life lost since March 23, 2020.

The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail has seen a significant increase in trail usage since the beginning of the pandemic, as a record number of residents and visitors turn to the trail for their mental and physical wellbeing. Justin Topa, community engagement manager for Lackawanna Heritage Valley, has led efforts to plan this event and feels the trail serves as a safe, tranquil venue for the luminary memorial walk. Topa hopes the event will draw people to the trail to reflect on and honor those that have lost their lives, show support for their families, and foster a sense of community in a time of social-distancing.

“Tuesday marks the anniversary of a very solemn day in Lackawanna County,” said Topa. “We hope that this event will help to bring our communities safely together to reflect on the past year and honor those we’ve lost.”

Lackawanna Heritage Valley partnered with NEPA Strong to bring the luminary memorial walk to fruition. NEPA Strong is a popular advocacy and action group formed on Facebook to bring the region together and support local small businesses. The group recently marked its one year anniversary with more than 10,200 members and plans to continue in their mission of supporting community and small businesses even after the pandemic subsides.

The luminary memorial walk is self-guided and contactless and those that wish to attend may do so at their own pace. The luminary bags will feature battery operated candles to ensure safety and will be collected at the end of the event. Lackawanna Heritage Valley asks that those in attendance wear masks, remain socially-distanced and follow all health and safety guidelines. In the event of inclement weather, Lackawanna Heritage Valley will post rain date information through their social media channels.

For more information or directions to Tuesday’s event, those interested are asked to contact Lackawanna Heritage Valley by phone at (570) 963-6730.