Love Lights to illuminate Demopolis for 25th time

When the switch is flipped to light up the Love Lights tree on Dec. 3, it will continue a tradition started 25 years ago by the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary to kick off Christmas on the River.

The brainchild of then-president Alice Boggs, the Love Lights program has raised thousands of dollars that the Auxiliary has used to purchase equipment and pay for services at the hospital.

Boggs said she got the idea from a hospital group in Birmingham when she happened to visit during their fundraiser, and she thought it would be a good fit for Demopolis.

At the first Love Lights ceremony Dec. 2, 1990, the tree was an evergreen placed in front of the hospital. For the past several years the tree, with its red and white lights, has been a familiar landmark during the Christmas season as it shines atop the hospital.

Love lights are purchased by those who want to honor or remember loved ones. The Auxiliary members sell them for $3 each or two for $5. White lights are for remembrance, and red, in honor. The lights are available from any member or from the volunteers in the hospital lobby.

To complement the lighted tree on the hospital, several trees in the lobby are adorned with white and red ornaments bearing the names of those being recognized. Stars denote veterans.

In 2005 the Auxiliary expanded the Christmas fund-raiser to include Corporate Wreaths. The green wreaths, decorated with gold ribbon and balls, line the main hallway of the hospital and recognize businesses and individuals who have donated $100 or more.

While the amount raised fluctuates each year, the two fundraisers together can net up to $7,000.

The Love Lights tree ceremony this year will begin at 5 p.m. Doing the honors of lighting the tree will be the COTR Special Child. Children’s choirs from First United Methodist Church and Christian Chapel will sing.

The Rev. Chris Spencer of St. Matthew Baptist will deliver the invocation, and the Rev. J.D. Barnes of Trinity Episcopal will close the event with the benediction.

After the ceremony, everyone will be invited inside the hospital for refreshments and to see the trees and Christmas wreaths decorating the lobby and hall.