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In Hancock, let there be lights

November 26, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - Lynn Barber-Dawson was enjoying her first Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Hancock on Saturday despite the "frigid" cold.

At least it seemed cold - in the 40s - to a woman who has been living in Florida for many years.

"It was a very nice ceremony for a small town," Dawson said. "I liked it, all but the weather ... below 75 degrees and I get panicky."

She and her husband, Ward Dawson, now are living in his hometown of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

They came to the tree-lighting ceremony because Ward Dawson plays trombone in the Tri-State Civic Band, musicians who accompanied members of the Hancock High School band in the traditional Christmas carols.

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Shannon McKinley lives near Hancock, but admitted she was attending her first tree-lighting ceremony. Her daughter, Emmaleigh, 7, is a member of Brownie Troop 613 that helped with the refreshments.

"I am really enjoying this," McKinley said.

This year, the town Christmas tree is a 15-foot one that replaces the one planted several years ago on the Town Hall property, Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy said.

"The one we planted died," he said.

After several more songs and two stories told by the Rev. Anne Weatherholt, candles were lighted, and the tree lights were turned on.

At that moment, a Hancock Volunteer Fire Co. engine turned on its lights and sounded the siren to announce that Santa Claus had arrived.

Santa made his way into Town Hall, where cookies, hot chocolate and coffee awaited the more than 100 people who showed up for the event.

There also were gifts, coloring books and candy canes for the children. And there was some welcome warmth for Lynn Barber-Dawson.

Murphy introduced Matthew Burnett, a Hancock resident who came to the ceremony just hours before returning to duty with the U.S. Navy to his new assignment at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

"We salute all the wonderful young people in our community serving in the military," Murphy said.

In her prayer, Weatherholt asked that the door of hate be closed and the door of love be opened.

The Interfaith Service Coalition has sponsored the event for a number of years with assistance from the Hancock Chamber of Commerce, which contributed an assortment of cookies and other goodies.

Also pitching in were police and fire personnel, St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, the Town of Hancock, both bands and Bob Barnhart.

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