(Photo above left) Ron Merson (holding lights) and Tim Hicks string the lights on the Santa Paula Christmas Tree located in front of United Water Conservation District office at 8th and Main Streets. The Optimist Club puts the lights on the tree every year assisting the “Light Up a Life” Hospice tree lighting ceremony. (Above right) On Sunday, November 15th the Santa Paula Optimist Club put the lights on the Hospice Christmas tree. Getting up early and helping were: Rey Frutos, Ron Merson, Tim Hicks, Cathy Hicks, Henry Chavez, Dave Lagesse Jr., Val Lagresse, and Ruth Rope. Dave Lagesse missed the photo, he was in the tree.

19th Annual SCV Hospice Light Up A Life endearing holiday tradition

November 25, 2009
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe annual Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group’s Light Up A Life has memorialized lost loved ones and recognized those still held close in what has become one of the community’s most endearing holiday traditions. And come Saturday, when the 19th Annual Light Up A Life is held starting at 4:30 p.m., new and familiar names will join the list of thousands and thousands memorialized and honored over the years.Under a canopy of soon to be twinkling lights - donated at a cost of only $10 each in remembrance or recognition - the community will come together for music, a holiday sing-along, and to witness the Tree Lighting Ceremony, which includes the reading of all names listed. The ceremony is held each year at the big tree located outside United Water Conservation District headquarters at the corner of Main and 8th streets; in the outside chance of rain the ceremony will be moved across the street inside Blanchard Community Library, which offers a perfect view of the tree.Chairwoman Lora Wingo said this year’s Light Up A Life is going well: “We’re getting a lot of names” that, aside from a twinkling light, are also recognized by being printed in the Santa Paula Times, “which we really appreciate. And the community has responded very well this year in spite of the recession.”Saturday’s program will start with songs and music from the “Holly Rollers.” Also leading up to the reading of names and lighting of the tree, which will shine throughout the holiday season, will be a community sing-along of holiday songs led by Marilyn Harvey, accompanied by Gretchen Fry on the keyboard. Patty Strickland will close the ceremony singing “Silent Night.”There will be a special donation table to accept remembrances or recognitions - only $10 each - on the spot that will be included on the list of names read at the event. Light Up A Life names will be published in the Santa Paula Times up until Christmas.
Wingo said volunteers have read thousands and thousands of names over the years. “Each year we read a lot names and many do it year after year... it’s just amazing how loyal they are to the memory of loved ones or in recognizing those they love and admire.”The popularity of Light Up A Life is enduring, partly because everyone can share his or her memories of lost loved ones or comment on those living that are honored. “It’s a very moving,” but not maudlin, ceremony “that brings back a lot of memories of people others might not have thought of for awhile. It’s nice and a nice way to celebrate” those memorialized and honored.For more information, or to arrange your donation and twinkling lights, call the Hospice office at 525-1333.

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