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Community COVID-19 Stories


Community COVID-19 stories wanted for Chatham digital archive

Elyse Panagakos, Chatham Girl Scout, is collecting COVID stories from the community to build an archive for her Gold Award project.

Many years from now, historians will rely on newspaper accounts, government briefings, and statistics to piece together how society responded during the COVID-19 global pandemic. But stories of everyday life are particularly hard to collect. For her Girl Scout Gold Award, and in partnership with the Chatham Borough and Township Historical Societies and the Library of the Chathams, Elyse Panagakos is asking Chatham residents to share their experiences so that she can record this slice of Chatham’s history for future generations. The digital archive will be electronically hosted by the Library of the Chathams and accessible to all members of the public.

The pandemic has been very stressful to everyone. Navigating the constantly changing status of the virus along with limited experience from historical pandemics, knowing how to react, and what actions to take was challenging. By creating the digital archive, the personal stories will help future generations appreciate and learn from our experiences. For example, so many experienced loss, everything from the extreme of human loss to missing out on events such as a birthday party, proms, graduations, and even just being with friends. But the challenges also brought out the best in many people, through supporting each other. Chatham has stories that Elyse wants to preserve.

To build the archive, Elyse is requesting pictures, personal written, video and audio stories. In addition to reaching out directly to members of the community for interviews, she requests that residents of all ages, please share pictures and personal stories by uploading your experiences by emailing your pictures, stories, videos, etc. to  Additionally, please answer a few questions about your experience in the Google form linked here. Please be a part of documenting our history.

Collected Interviews 

Oliver Hung – Emergency Room Doctor

Melina Panagakos – 2020 Chatham High School Graduate

Alexandra Rice – Speech Therapist

Cindy Gagliardi – Chatham High School English Teacher

Elizabeth Bernich – Creator of FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group)

Elyse Panagakos – 2022 Chatham High School Graduate

Jane Schelling – Chatham resident/Realtor

Jimmy Bellas – Co-owner of Sorriso Kitchen

Kristen Panagakos – Chatham resident

Sherilyn Tuthill – Chatham resident

Jerry LePore – Owner of Powerflow Yoga

Michael LaSusa – Chatham Schools Superintendent

Nick Panagakos – Chatham resident/FBI Special Agent

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