‘Love Lights’ offer something new

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 2004

DEMOPOLIS – Something new, something exciting and something very spectacular is planned for the 14th annual lighting of the Love Lights Christmas Tree.

The event this year is set for 5 p.m. Sunday, November 28 in front of Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital.

Sponsored by the hospital’s Ladies Auxiliary, the Love Lights Christmas Tree has become a tradition to help kick off Christmas on the River.

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But this year, said Linda Burnham, event coordinator, the ladies have planned something very special. In the past the auxiliary would have a cedar tree cut and mounted in front of the hospital, decorating it will red and white lights in honor or in memory of loved ones.

This year the tree becomes a permanent part of the festivities and will be used every year.

“It makes sense instead of cutting Mother Nature down every year,” said Burnham. The tree will be “very close to the hospital,” she said, giving a bit more of a hint about the new tree.

The idea for the new tree came from CEO/administrator Mike Marshall, she added. He is coordinating the tree with the hospital’s maintenance department.

“It’s really, really going to be nice,” she added. “All I can say at this point is that everyone will be able to easily see it when we flip the switch that night.”

As a special treat, the auxiliary is invited this year’s COTR Special Child, Brandon Lewis, to throw the switch that will light the tree. Brandon, the son of Tammie and Boston Lewis, is a 9-year-old student at Westside Elementary who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Eddie Coats is to deliver the invocation. Speaking briefly at the event will be Alex Braswell, COTR chairman, and Marshall.

Not only will red and white lights decorate the outdoor scene, but the lobby of the hospital will have its own memory tree. Red and white bells will have the names of those being honored and of the person who purchased the ornament in their names.

As a special remembrance, red and white stars also will be available to honor or remember veterans.

Ornaments can be purchased for $3 each, or two for $5. The auxiliary will used the proceeds this year to purchase sleeper chairs for patient rooms.

“The Pink Ladies recognize the need of loved ones to stay with patients when possible,” said Marshall, “and they want to make sure that these visitors are as comfortable as possible. These new sleeper chairs will help do just that.

The annual lighting ceremony this year will feature the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Employee Choir. Refreshments will be served in the lobby after the lighting, and visitors will be able to register for door prizes in the hospital’s Gift Shop.

Anyone interested in purchased a Love Light should contact any member of the BWWMH Auxiliary or purchase lights in the Gift Shop.