TROY – The holidays just would not be the same at FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital without the Love Lights celebration that ushers in the season every year. And the Love Lights celebration just would not be the same without the anticipation that accompanies the well-kept secret of the annual “Tree-Lighter.”
Montgomery County residents from various walks of life have been surprised by the “Tree-Lighter” designation throughout the years. The same kind of surprise will undoubtedly accompany the announcement at the 26th annual Christmas Love Light event that is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the hospital’s Main Entrance.
Tree-lighters of the past have included former hospital president Kerry Hensley; medical chiefs of staff Fred Wier, M.D.; William Hanham, M.D.; and Chrystal Eller, M.D.; and Russ Hollers, a former member of the hospital board, a current member of the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation board and a staunch supporter of the FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, which hosts the event as a fundraiser each year.
Nellie Dumas, the hospital employee who oversees food preparation for special functions (including the reportedly yummy hors d’oeuvres scheduled for this year’s tree-lighting), also got the nod a few years ago. So did Jay Lincoln, a community volunteer who supported the hospital in the time of inclement weather by bringing employees to work in his four-wheel-drive truck.
“It’s a very special event, and those who attend often feel it starts their holiday season with a special warm feeling,” says MMH President Beth Walker, herself a former “Tree-Lighter.”
The FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Choir also does its part to add to the holiday cheer. “We try to tell the Christmas story in song during the ceremony, and then we sing traditional Christmas songs (‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ ‘Let It Snow,’ ‘Jingle Bell Rock’) after the ceremony while everyone enjoys refreshments,” says Tina Thompson of Montgomery Memorial Human Resources.
The result seems to be a good time that is experienced by all.
“The choir enjoys this event as much as those who attend,” says Walker.
The cost of a single Love Light Tree dedication to honor or memorialize a loved one is $5, and proceeds help fund Montgomery Memorial Hospital Auxiliary projects such as the Teddy Bear Affair and an annual health care scholarship. All of those who dedicate a light, as well as those being honored, are invited to attend the tree-lighting ceremony. To reserve a light, call Tina Thompson at (910) 571-5020 by Friday, Nov. 29.