1,261 deaths in South Dakota are linked to COVID-19. That’s the latest number from the South Dakota Department of Health.

Every person who has died is being remembered through a memorial at a KELOLAND church.

More than 1,200 ribbons can be seen waving in the wind outside of the Congregational United Church of Christ in Mitchell.

Each piece of fabric represents a life lost.

“As I’ve cut all of these strips and put them on, I’ve been doing a lot of praying,” Church Ministry Assistant Wendy Figland said.

Wendy Figland is the church ministry assistant and one of the people who came up with this idea to create a memorial for COVID-19 victims.

“And I want us all to remember each of those people and pray for those that are left behind and those that are still suffering,” Figland said.

“I think the motivation for this and the desire to share those sentiments and the prayers is definitely heartfelt and something that this congregation can really embrace and be thankful for,” Rev. Matt Richards said.

Church members put up new ribbons every week. Wendy never thought this many would be needed.

“We’re going through a lot of fabric,” Figland said.

Two of the ribbons are tied in honor of her family members.

Wendy also lost a family member in a different state.

“It hurts. We haven’t had a chance to grieve properly as a family because getting together was just not safe,” Figland said.

She wants other families feeling the same pain to know they’re not alone.

“We are all mourning with them and that God is there for them even through their pain and will uphold them,” Figland said.

And it’s the hope that each one of these ribbons can help provide that comfort.

The church is accepting fabric donations for its display and monetary donations to do something special to support health care workers.