Oakland Together: Commemorating one year living with COVID-19 - A message from Dave Coulter


March 10, 2021

Oakland County Executive Bi-Weekly Newsletter

Dear Friends,

When we look back over the past year, some would call March 10 an anniversary, but it’s nothing that we want to celebrate. Rather, it’s a time to reflect on the tragedies, the suffering and the heroism that so many people experienced since March 10, 2020, the day that the first coronavirus case in Oakland County was reported.


I remember rushing over to the Health Division when we heard about the first case and seeing the employees already starting to dig in, getting in touch with the family of the first person who contracted the virus and seeing who they may have been in contact with. We had never had anything like the scale of COVID-19 before, but the health folks knew exactly what they had to do.


I was so grateful that a department that many of us don’t think about very much was there and frankly rocking it, right from the start. They continued on for days and weeks and months without time off, without rest, working through exhaustion and stress and sometimes tragedies of their own.


But everyone, from the Health Division and every county department put their own lives and fears and anxious moments aside to continue providing seamless services, often in dramatically different ways, for our residents


I couldn’t be more proud to be in public service during such a trying time. Cynical people often talk about the nameless, faceless bureaucrats in local government and how things are so broken.


But I've always believed that government is simply the way we address our collective problems. And I've been so gratified watching these dedicated people, who some might call bureaucrats, but who I call my colleagues and friends. I have even more respect for the men and women who could make more money in the private sector, but they really care about this work. That really came through to me this year.


I also wouldn’t let this moment pass without reflecting on the nearly 1,600 Oakland County residents we lost to COVID-19 this past year, including two of our own county employees.


Nick Mazich was a carpenter from Holly, who came out of retirement to be a part-time construction inspector for the Parks and Recreation department. His wife Pam said he was just a city boy who loved to go back to Oklahoma every summer as a kid so he could work on his grandparent’s farm. He turned that passion into a part-time hobby of working with 4-H groups in northern Oakland County, helping kids raise goats, sheeps, cows, pigs and chickens.


Then there was Marina Lupyan, who worked for 28 years as a data base administrator in the IT department. Her boss Mike Timm called her super smart and super private. But her family said she was loyal, extremely devoted to God and family and a self-starter. As a single mother, she came to the United States from Belarus for a better life, starting out as a $2 per hour dish washer and babysitter and working her way up to her job as an administrator in Oakland County.


We mourn for Nick and Marina and their families as well as all the families in Oakland, Michigan and the nation who have suffered tragic losses from this deadly virus.


With gratitude,

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter



Coulter kicks off activities surrounding one year of living with COVID-19

It has been one year since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Oakland and the county embarked on a week of activities looking back on this most difficult year.


The #OaklandTogether COVID-19 Tribute includes maps that pay tribute to the lives lost to the coronavirus as well as the gratitude we all feel for those who helped keep us safe, to a half-mile illuminated Tribute Walk at Waterford Oaks County Park, residents can share their reflections and memories from the past year.

Virtual Discussion with Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilcrist

In addition, County Executive Dave Coulter and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist participated in a virtual discussion about COVID-19 and the inequities people of color faced when confronting the virus.




one year

Top County Officials Remember One Year Living with COVID-19

County Executive Dave Coulter, Deputy County Executive Rudy Hobbs, Health and Human Services Director Leigh-Anne Stafford and Brandy Boyd, Oakland County Parks and Recreation Chief of Recreation Programs & Services, who lost both her parents to COVID-19; sit down and reflect on the pandemic. They discuss the tragedies, the suffering and the heroism many people experienced since March 10, 2020

Tribute Walk opening at Waterford Oaks

Oakland County and Oakland County Parks and Recreation are commemorating one year since the first confirmed COVID-19 case with the Oakland Together COVID-19 Tribute Walk at Waterford Oaks County Park.


Bluewater Technologies, known for its Glenlore Trails in Commerce Twp., has designed a half-mile long immersive and interactive light trail that will allow people to pay homage to the nearly 1,600 Oakland County residents who died from COVID-19, honor those frontline workers who helped keep us safe, and give thanks to all who stepped up in big and small ways to help during the pandemic.


The Tribute Walk kicks off Wednesday, March 10 at 6:00 p.m. with a ceremony to serve both as a special thank you to county employees and a media preview. Invited guests will participate through the end of the week. 


Tickets for the Tribute Walk will go on sale beginning Thursday for participation in the walk March 15 through March 21 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can purchase limited tickets for the Tribute Walk on the Tribute website.



Oakland County adds partner to help with vaccine

The Oakland County Health Division is working with Ready Nursing Solutions to help provide vaccines to residents in long term care facilities as well as home-bound seniors.


The announcement comes as roughly half of Oakland County’s seniors over the age of 65 have received at least one vaccine dose and all the 23,000 school personnel on the county’s Save Your Spot list have either received their first dose or gotten an invitation to make an appointment for the vaccine.


U.S. Navy naming new ship after Oakland County resident

Farmington Hills resident, Korean War veteran and Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Robert Simanek, 90, received another honor last week when the U.S. Navy decided to name a new ship after him to recognize his bravery.


Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite recently announced the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Robert E. Simanek, has been ordered, noting it will carry on the Navy's mission to secure the sea lanes, stand by our allies, and protect the United States against all adversaries.

Coulter applauds lawmakers for civil rights expansion bill

State Sen. Jeremy Moss of Southfield and state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky of Livonia introduced bills in recent weeks that would expand civil rights protections to the LGBTQ community in the state’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act.


Oakland County Executive David Coulter applauded the lawmakers for their bills and said the proposed legislation deserve action, now.


The business community and Michigan residents have long supported the expansion, he said, and it’s time for the Legislature to include protections for the LGBTQ community so they can’t be fired or refused housing simply for who they are.