By John L. Ross/Staff Writer
Let the lights shine.
And at St. Joseph Hospital London, the lights will shine right up to the new year.
During what started out to be a tree lighting ceremony and ended up “a Christmas Open House” Tuesday, those gathered celebrated the spirit of giving during the event.
Lights of Love, a holiday lighting event, spotlights those donating to the St. Joseph London Foundation. Lights on the hospital’s Christmas tree shine in honor or in memory of nearly 50 friends or relatives of community members.
This is the second year for the event.
Interim Hospital CEO Bruce Klockars welcomed the crowd, saying it was “an honor and joy” to serve in the capacity of CEO.
He said the spirit of giving is reflected in the hospital staff. “We have a staff who care for patients here,” Klockars said. “They are competent, skilled... but most importantly they care for the patients in a special way.”
He waved his hand to the Lights of Love Christmas tree. “(They give) from the heart,” he said. “(Most of these lights) are employee donations.”
“This tree symbolizes hope, love and life,” said staff member Judith Rutherford. “(We want to give) thanks for the generosity.”
The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the new foundation donor wall. Barry Stumbo, foundation president, said the new wall “looks wonderful.”
“It’s beautiful,” Stumbo said. “(But) it needs more names on there.”
The wall celebrates those donors cumulatively giving between $2,500 and $10,000 or more to the foundation. Three levels are recognized on the wall; the Silver Society, the Gold Society and the Lifetime Society.
Stumbo closed with a challenge. “Get your name on the board,” he said. “And I’ll get mine.”
More than 40 gathered in the hospital’s lobby for the event, which included musical entertainment. Violinist Maggie Moore, pianist Tyson Baker, singer Rebecca Webster and duo Greg and Kristi Kitzmiller shared Christmas carols through music and song during Tuesday’s event.
Development Director April Nease said it’s been busy for the hospital this year. “We’re on track to deliver 1,000 babies this year,” she said, adding there have been more than 7,000 procedures for more than 800 patients at the cancer center, 42,000 emergency room visits and more than 38,000 outpatients visits.
“The impact (of donating) is realized every day,” Nease said. “Don’t think about your gift being too modest. Every gift makes a difference.”