Hospice of Jefferson County virtual tree lighting ceremony honors lives of North Country residents

State News

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Hospice of Jefferson County has worked to unite local residents who have lost a loved one and honor the lives of North Country residents through light this holiday season.

Typically, Hospice of Jefferson County hosts a table at the Salmon Run Mall where community members can purchase light bulbs to illuminate on a “memory tree.” But for the first time in over three decades, this annual event took a new form. 

Four trees outside the Hospice facility in Watertown, N.Y., were decorated with strands of lights to continue this tradition.

Hospice of Jefferson County Director of Community Relations and Marketing Kathy Arendt shared more on the event.

“We decided to do a lighting outside the Hospice residence and to light up the trees outside,” stated Arendt. “The white bulbs are in memory of a loved on; the green bulbs are in honor of someone, anyone you want to remember.”

The tree lighting ceremony was not the only event that had to shift to a virtual format in 2020. Their annual memorial event that typically takes place in June, was cancelled due to COVID-19 and combined with their virtual tree lighting.

The annual memorial service was streamed live on the organization’s Facebook page while all four trees were lit.

Due to the overwhelming amount of positive feedback Hospice of Jefferson County has received from the community, the organization plans to continue this event in 2021, add four more trees to their tree lighting ceremony and hold a holiday memorial event.

But Ardent shared the true drive for events like these as the North Country wraps up 2020. 

Ardent stated, “We’re hoping to reach out to the entire community where anyone passing Hospice will look at the trees and maybe remember their loved one. And maybe they weren’t necessarily a Hospice patient, but someone who is special to them. That’s what it’s all about this holiday season; keeping those who we love close to us.”

To support Hospice of Jefferson County, community members can visit their Facebook page or make a donation on their website.

Watch the full 2020 memorial service and virtual tree lighting ceremony below.

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