HAMC lights Tree of Giving
Supporters, well-wishers, local students and hospital staff crowded Heart of America Medical Center’s lobby area to celebrate HAMC’s 26th Annual Tree of Giving Lighting Ceremony Tuesday evening.
Ely Elementary music teacher Andee Mattson directed a choir of 5th and 6th grade students, who sang a selection of tunes including “Hot Chocolate” to set a festive mood for the chilly evening.
Presenters Laurie Odden of HAMC Auxiliary thanked community members and volunteers for their support, and gave special thanks to Volunteer Services Director Shelly Block.
Odden described programs funded by donations from the public.
“Donations are used for purchases for hospice, Haaland Estates, the Heart of America Johnson Clinic, and the Heart of America Medical Center,” Odden said. “This past year, the funds we raised supported the infusion suite. We also continue to assist the care center and hospice with any of their ongoing needs,” she added.
“Our project for this upcoming year will be the 3D mammography machine. This is a great project for caring and sharing with everyone,” Odden noted.
“We have envelopes in all the Rugby banks, Rugby funeral homes, the Heart to Heart gift shop, on the HAMC website, and in Shelly’s office,” Odden continued, as she urged the community to donate to the project.
Hospital Chaplain Pastor Gary Dorn led the group in a short prayer, referencing the fact Tuesday was “National Giving Tuesday,” a special day set aside in 2012 to encourage charitable acts for the holidays.
HAMC Board Member Dick Anderson spoke on the importance of volunteers and read an inspirational piece on making the most of “the dash between the dates on your headstone,” which represents a person’s life.
Odden returned to the microphone to describe the Tree of Giving: “Each light represents a donation by someone. Different colored lights signify different levels at which they donated, and they can also be a special greeting to someone,” Odden noted. “So, when you look at (each) light on the tree this holiday season, that represents one person that someone thought of this holiday season, and wanted to put a light on our tree out here.”
“You can join us in remembering the loved ones that have a special light on the tree,” Odden said before she and other volunteers began reading a list of names represented by lights.
When the name reading ended, the crowd gathered outside around a large pine tree wrapped with strings of multicolored light bulbs. After the Ely Elementary students and the bundled-up crowd circled the tree, the lights glowed as presenters plugged them in.
The crowd cheered heartily, and hurried back to the warmth of the building or their cars as the ceremony ended.
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