Oakland County opens half-mile light trail as Covid memorial

With each step the world is inching closer to the end of the pandemic - and at Waterford Oaks there was a tribute walk on Wednesday to show how far we've come. 

"More than 16,000 county residents have contracted Covid and nearly 1,600 have passed of this disease," said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter.

An interactive half-mile in a Waterford Township park gave visitors like Brandy Sotke Boyd a chance to reflect. 

"There is a lot of loss that has happened over this past year so I think it's important to sit back and remember and help us move forward," she said.

A loss that for her, is profoundly personal. Her parents Arnie and Carolyn Sotke were hospitalized with Covid in August. 

"Ironically that was on their 50th wedding anniversary," she said.

The disease worked fast. 

"My mom lost her battle on August 31st, my dad was heart-broken and still fought until he passed September 3rd," she said. 

Brandy Sotke Boyd

Sotke, who works for Oakland County Parks, poured herself into making this tribute walk possible. 

"It really hit me close to home to be able to do this," she said. "Not just for my parents but for everyone who is suffering."

The lights and the installation were all donated to Oakland County by the Bluewater Company. Visitors will be asked to leave a $5 donation, that will benefit Oakland County charities. 

The trail is split into two phases,  the first is reflection for those who died. But at the end of the trail, the idea is to leave with a hopeful feeling.

"It meant the world to me to be a part of this and provide for other family members who have lost family or friends due to Covid."

The trail will open to the public for a limited number of pre-registered ticket holders each night from 7:30- 9:30 p.m. Monday, March 15th through the 21st.

 To get tickets you must visit HERE.