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Garden club decks halls of Hagerstown hospital center

December 20, 2004|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

With the steady click clacking of the model trains running in the background in the lobby, more than a dozen members of Woodland Garden Club - and at least five husbands who were drafted - gathered to decorate the public areas of Western Maryland Hospital Center last week, an annual project garden club members have been doing for almost 50 years.

"So many people there never get out to see Christmas anywhere else," said garden club member Wilma Spangler, who describes the service project as a labor of love. "We go out of our way every year at Christmas."

A dozen artificial Christmas trees were put together and trimmed for display in the lobby, auditorium, private dining room, chapel, employees' dining room and canteen/gift shop. Centerpieces, garland and other decorations - many on loan from garden club members - add a festive touch.

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New this year is the indoor HO-scale train layout, an addition to the lobby that has meant a great deal to hospital resident Ben Wagner.

Wagner, 71, has become the resident engineer. He is assisted by Denny Hart, a biomedical technician at the center.

Plans are under way for completion of an outdoor therapeutic train garden by spring 2005. The G-scale trains will run outside the windows where patients receive kidney dialysis, providing a diversion from the treatments, which lasts three to four hours.

Donations are still needed for the project. Checks may be made payable to WMHC Therapeutic Garden Fund and sent to Western Maryland Hospital Center, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, Hagerstown, MD 21742.

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