Lights of Love returns

Published 6:13 am Friday, December 9, 2011

Lights are seen on the 'Lights of Love Christmas Tree' at Troy Regional Medical Center in Troy, Ala., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

The Christmas tree in front of Troy Regional Medical Center is symbolic of much more than the holiday season – it represents family.

Each of the twinkling Lights of Love on the cedar is in honor, or in memory of, someone special. And the purchase of those lights at $2 each means that four families will have children who smile a little brighter Christmas morning.

All of the donations from the tree lights, as well as other funds raised through a soup lunch sale and a pancake breakfast, will go toward the TRMC Christmas Adopted Family Fund.

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“We are a family here, ourselves, but this has helped us feel even more united,” said Karen Herring, marketing director for the hospital. “Everyone is excited and you can feel it in the air.”

The tree lighting in honor or memory of others isn’t a new idea for the Medical Center, but it’s been many years since the tradition of Lights of Love burned out.

“We’ve even restarted the memory book,” said Faye Lunsford. “It’s full of names.”

The memory book is comprehensive and holds the names of all the people honored this year, and from past Lights of Love seasons. The book is on display at the front desk of TRMC for anyone who’d like to see.

With the money TRMC employees have already raised, they can purchase toys, clothing and other supplies for four nominated families in the area. Staff is now looking into how to spend the generous overflow of donations they weren’t expecting.

“Three hundred dollars, per family, is enough for us to purchase what they need,” said Janet Smith, the hospital’s chief financial officer. “We’re thinking about what else we can do to help people in the community.”

Herring also said the project has been beneficial to the whole staff at the hospital.

“Coming into the holiday season, people want to help,” Herring said. “It is a reminder to us what is important about the season.”

Smith said she recommends other companies adopt a child or family at Christmas.

“It is definitely worth it,” Smith said. “Do things that people feel they can participate in. It’s a project that’s beneficial to yourself and the community.