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Tree gives people hope

December 12, 2010|By C.J. LOVELACE | Staff Correspondent
  • Wearing a T-shirt with a 1959 photo of her family printed on it, Cherie LeBard, president of the Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital Auxiliary, shows pictures of her loved ones over the years during the Lights of Hope ceremony Sunday evening at the hospital.
By C.J. Lovelace, Staff Correspondent

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — With the flip of a switch, an illuminated Christmas tree at Waynesboro Hospital will serve as a beacon of hope for more than 100 people around the holidays.

The tree lighting was part of the annual “Lights of Hope” ceremony at the hospital Sunday evening. For a donation, 111 community members or families dedicated a light on the tree in honor or in memory of a loved one.

All proceeds go to the hospital’s auxiliary, which helps in various ways around the hospital. It will also be used to help purchase new equipment to ensure exceptional care for all patients, Auxiliary President Cherie LeBard said.

“It’s a way to make a tangible contribution in memory of a loved one and it goes to a good cause,” LeBard said.

Offering a special donation, Bob and Laura Shank of Waynesboro sponsored the star on top of the tree in honor of Laura Shank’s late grandmother, Kate Weyant, who was an auxiliary life member and volunteered for more than 40 years at the hospital and in the community.

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Weyant, who died on Thanksgiving, continued to volunteer until about two months before she died. The Shanks were joined at the ceremony by Betty Wolfe, Weyant’s daughter.

“This was her life,” said Laura Shank of her grandmother’s passion for volunteering. “She would volunteer all day.”

Also in attendance were Michael and Margaret Black of Waynesboro. They have made donations the past few years in honor of their son, Michael, who died at age 19 from a drug overdose. He would have turned 24 next week, they said.

“It’s been four years now since he’s been gone. We miss him so much,” said Michael Black, who works at the hospital. “He’ll always be in our hearts.”

Every time they see the tree, it reminds them of their son during the holidays.

“It’s a special occasion for the community to remember,” Margaret Black said.

About 50 people attended the ceremony, during which each donor’s name was read aloud accompanied by the names of their loved ones. LeBard said the community always comes together like family around the holidays.

“We lose some family members and we gain more family,” she said. “It’s the circle of life, really.”

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