GMH ‘Tree of Lights’ honors residents

By Anna Bolton -

XENIA — Greene Memorial Hospital visitors will soon walk into the lobby to find the traditional “Tree of Lights” on display.

A tradition began in 1990 when a volunteer organization called The Partners decorated a Christmas tree outside the hospital with blue and white bulbs to honor community members.

“The first one was December 2nd, 1990. They had a big tree lighting ceremony,” Linda Richardson, volunteer coordinator, said. Richardson said about 125 volunteers help out for hospital causes.

Now, Greene Memorial Hospital Auxiliary volunteers decorate the tree with ornaments hung by blue, white and gold ribbons. Blue ribbon represents a living honoree; white, deceased; gold, a current service member or veteran.

“I think it’s just a great way to honor so many people that have helped us as volunteers or supported the hospital,” Richardson said.

Richardson and volunteers plan to decorate the tree before Saturday, Dec. 1.

While the tree honors local residents, it also acts as a fundraiser for the hospital. Community members can make a $5-or-greater donation for an ornament to be displayed with the honoree’s name.

Proceeds from the ornaments benefit the hospital and patients. Recent projects have included white board in each of the patient rooms, lighting in patient bathrooms, gifts for mammography patients and grants to help those who need extra care not paid by insurance.

“It’s another way for us to raise money to give back to the hospital for whatever the needs may be in the different departments,” Richardson said.

To honor a relative or friend, checks made out to GMH Auxiliary can be mailed to Volunteer Coordinator Linda Richardson, Greene Memorial Hospital, 1141 N. Monroe Drive, Xenia 45385. Name and address of honoree should be included. Individuals will be notified of the donation. Anonymous donations are also welcome; individual will be notified of the honor but not the name of the donor. Checks and information can also be dropped off at the hospital gift shop, coffee shop or information desk.

By Anna Bolton