A Titusville December tradition took place Tuesday evening as the Titusville Area Hospital illuminated their Christmas tree as part of the annual Lights of Love fundraiser.
This was a notable occasion for the more than quarter-century-old event, as TAH CEO Lee Clinton lit up a new tree. The hospital’s previous evergreen was cut down over the spring due to age, and a younger, smaller tree has taken its place.
Despite the size difference, both Clinton and Titusville Area Hospital Auxiliary President Helyn Dahle spoke fondly of the new evergreen.
“It’s a perfectly shaped Christmas tree,” Dahle said.
Lights of Love is an annual fundraiser for the auxiliary, and is, in fact, the biggest one of the year, bringing in thousands of dollars. Members of the community donate to have a blue or white light placed on the tree in order to “express love, honor and appreciation” for someone dear to them, according to the auxiliary.
These donations, alongside a Christmas ornament fundraiser the auxiliary runs during the same time period, raise money for various improvements for the hospital.
“Every penny we make goes to the hospital,” Dahle said in her introduction given at the ceremony.
According to the auxiliary president, the various departments at the hospital come up with a wishlist ever December and January of things they would like to receive. The auxiliary attempts to fulfill each of these requests as best as they can, with the Lights of Love fundraiser playing a big part.
Recently, the auxiliary was able to fulfill one of those wishes, buying new blinds for the patient rooms, according to Dahle.
While most of the donations for the fundraiser come from the Titusville area, Dahle said that contributions have come from out of state before. Typically, these cases are when a relative of a former Titusville resident who has died wishes to honor their memory.
In addition to Dahle’s introduction, an invocation was given by Jackie Wagner, a member of the auxiliary, in which she thanked God for “the chance to celebrate this hospital and what it means to have a hospital here in Titusville.”
Clinton also gave some remarks, in which he gave a humorous anecdote about the replacement of the old evergreen tree.
“It’s amazing how scared the maintenance guys are, even when they’re armed with chainsaws, of doing anything that would possibly upset the auxiliary,” he said to the chortles of many in the audience.
He also gave an update about the hospital’s ongoing emergency room renovation project. Clinton said the first phase of the project, consisting of a new registration and waiting room, should be open to the public by Dec. 10.
Following his remarks, Clinton flipped the switch to activate the lights on the tree, the blue and white lights shining in the night. The Titusville High School Chorus then got the gathered crowd into the Christmas mood by singing some carols, during which many audience members decided to join in. The songs sung consisted of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night,” “We Three Kings” and the classic “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Once the songs were done, everyone got out of the cold and retreated into the hospital’s entrance to enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the Lights of Love fundraiser can pick up a donation form at the hospital. Forms are also occasionally printed in copies of The Herald.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.