TROY – The annual FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital Love Light celebration is filled with highlights: carol singing led by the FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Choir, community and hospital fellowship, and holiday goodies prepared by great hospital cooks.
Probably the “highlight of the highlights,” though, is the naming of the Love Light “Tree Lighter,” a hospital employee, supporter or volunteer whose name is always kept secret until the exciting moment when the announcement is made. Tree Lighters of the past have included current and past hospital presidents, Beth Walker and Kerry Hensley; physicians, including Chrystal Eller, M.D., of FirstHealth Family Medicine-Troy; and longtime hospital supporter Russ Hollers. The 2016 honoree was Tommie Marshall, a dedicated member of the hospital’s environmental services staff, who goes out of his way to provide excellent customer service to employees, patients and visitors.
This year’s Tree Lighter announcement and all of the other highlights that accompany it will begin at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The 30th Annual Love Light Tree program will be held at the hospital’s main entrance.
Lights on the Love Light Tree can be purchased to honor or memorialize a loved one. Proceeds will help fund Montgomery Memorial Hospital Auxiliary projects that include the Teddy Bear Affair, a special safety event for all Montgomery County first graders, and an annual health care scholarship given to a senior at East Montgomery High School and West Montgomery High School at graduation each year. But, according to Tina Thompson of Montgomery Memorial Human Resources, the event is much more than a fundraiser.
“We actually don’t think of this as a fundraising event,” Thompson says. “We look at it as a chance to kick off the holiday season with friends and family. Buying a light in their honor or memory gives us the chance to do that, as the receiver or receiver’s designee is invited to share in the event with us.”
The cost of a single Love Light Tree dedication is $5, and all of those who dedicate a light, as well as those being honored or their designee, are invited to attend the tree-lighting ceremony. To reserve a light, call Tina Thompson at (910) 571-5020 by Dec. 1.