The spirit of the holiday season came early this year in the form of volunteers across Chautauqua County decorating trees in remembrance of loved ones.
For the eighth year area residents are getting the chance to memorialize a lost loved one by helping Hospice Chautauqua County decorate trees with red bows as part of the Light-A-Life memorial campaign.
According to Megan D'Angelo, director of community relations for Hospice Chautauqua County, the Light-A-Life memorial tree-lighting ceremony is an opportunity to honor a lost loved one.
Pictured from left are Megan D’Angelo, of Hospice Chautauqua County, with several volunteers including Ginny Swanson, of Jamestown; Sue Chandler, of Lakewood; and Betty Rousch, of Lakewood. On Friday the group decorated trees with lights and red ribbons in the front window of the Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center for the Light-A-Life memorial campaign.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
"The holidays are a time for remembering your loved ones," said D'Angelo. "So, we wanted to bring those memories back into the hearts of everybody because they need to be cherished. And, also to always know that even though you've lost someone, it's not forever, because they will always be there in your heart. We're hoping that everybody can come together to unite as one in cherishing our memories of loved ones."
Individuals who make a gift of $5 or more to Hospice Chautauqua County will have a red bow hung on memorial trees located throughout the county, in addition to having a loved one's name listed in the tree-lighting memorial program.
There are several opportunities to participate in a tree-lighting program. The first is set for Friday, Nov. 30, during the annual Jamestown holiday parade. The second is set for Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. at the Medicor office located at 12 Center St. in Fredonia. The third is set for Friday, Dec. 7, at 5:30 p.m. at Hospice Chautauqua County, 20 W. Fairmount Ave. in Lakewood.
In addition to the memorial red bows, gifts of $25, $50 and $100 or more will acknowledge donators as a patron, a silver patron and a gold patron, respectively. Patrons will receive a unique hand-crafted porcelain heart ornament, silver patrons will receive a porcelain angel ornament, and gold patrons will receive both the heart and the angel ornaments.
The bows and ornaments are available by Hospice Chautauqua County, online at hospicechautco.org/events_light-a-life2012.php, through the honor society students of Jamestown High School, or Clymer, Falconer and Brocton central schools.
"Last year Falconer High School's honor society sold the most bows, and they will participate in the Lakewood tree lighting ceremony by placing the bows on the trees," said D'Angelo. "We also have members of the community selling bows."
Trees are located throughout the county at locations such as the Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center in Jamestown; the Ellington town hall; Gerry town hall; Sinclairville town park; Clymer Community Bank; Brocton town hall; Mayville town hall; and Hospice in Lakewood.
Several volunteers including Ginny Swanson, of Jamestown; Sue Chandler, of Lakewood; and Betty Rousch, of Lakewood, met with D'Angelo on Friday at the Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center to decorate trees for the Light-A-Life memorial campaign. According to D'Angelo, Mary Jo Bradish is the volunteer coordinator who organized the event.
"My mom used Hospice," said Swanson. "So, we got very close with the Hospice program, and we just want to keep that connection going. They helped us beyond words, so I want to give back by helping any way I can. I live in Lakewood, so when I drive past Hospice and see all the trees I know my mom, dad and in-laws are remembered there. It's very heart-warming."
For more information call 338-0033 or visit hospiceccevents.com.