‘Unfortunately, he’s not coming back’: Myrtle Beach holds COVID-19 Memorial Day


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The City of Myrtle Beach declared March 1 as COVID-19 Victim and Survivors Day to honor those who overcame the virus and remember those who could not.

DHEC reports over 500 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends died from COVID-19 in Horry County, so far. Ricky Wise, 68, of Conway was one of those victims.

His daughter, Marina Branton, told News13 he was diagnosed Jan. 10 and lost his battle to the virus after 16 days. She last saw her father through a window while lying unresponsive in a hospital bed.

“I keep expecting him to walk through the door or I’ll look at pictures and be like you can’t be gone,” Branton said.

“Like this isn’t happening, but unfortunately, he’s not coming back,” she explained. Branton said her father survived a heart attack in 2008, but COVID-19 worsened his underlying health conditions.

“My mom called me and said he had passed. His heart just gave out,” Branton said. She said Wise was a postman in Conway for over 30 years and also coached at local recreation centers.

Wise leaves behind two children, two grandchildren, and a wife who survived COVID-19. Branton who keeps his ashes close to hear heart is reminded of a mantra he lived by.

“Just ’cause something bad happens, don’t let it knock you down,” she said with tears in her eyes.

It’s a message Deb Granda, a COVID-19 survivor who lives in Conway could relate to. She said she thought she wasn’t going to make it.

“I just thank God and I’m just grateful,” Granda explained. She said she battled with the coronavirus for eight weeks where she had trouble breathing and extreme fatigue.

Her only sister, who served in the Air Force, couldn’t defeat COVID-19.

“I sat down and thought about it and I thought there’s nobody else in the world that I’ve spent more time with than her,” Granda said.

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune issued a statement to News13 about the importance of this official day:

There’s no denying that our community has been greatly impacted by COVID.  We all know someone who has been personally affected by this virus.  Today we remember all who have lost their lives fighting this battle.  Loved ones are left behind to deal with the loss and pain.  Please join me in lifting them up in prayer and let’s all be sensitive to the great sorrow that is now filling their hearts.  May we solemnly hold dear those who lost their lives to this virus.

Both women hope their stories will encourage people to be cautious and considerate of those who have been impacted by COVID-19.

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