Held inside the lobby of Chester Plumas Bank, Sierra Hospice’s 33rd annual Memorial Tree Lighting ceremony on Nov. 30 included the naming of those who were assisted in their final days through hospice care. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Sierra Hospice’s 33rd annual Memorial Tree lighting

Community members gathered Nov. 30 to memorialize those who had passed away during the year, as part of Sierra Hospice’s 33rd annual Memorial Tree Lighting ceremony held after business hours inside the lobby of Chester’s Plumas Bank.

The event had a good turnout despite a major storm warning. Many of the attendees at the observance arrived wrapped in multiple layers, knitted caps and gloves due to the chilly night, but being indoors this year eliminated the effects of cold winter weather and made the affair much more comfortable for everyone.

Sierra Hospice director Matt Moore welcomed those in attendance during the solemn occasion, which included lit candles on tables adding to the dignified atmosphere.

  Performed by Moore, Janice Nelson, Mary Ellen Rosen, and Sue Halton, the opening ceremony began with the naming of those who were assisted in their final days through hospice care and had since departed, including the names of local military personnel who have passed after a career serving our nation.

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Friends and family members purchased ornaments to hang on the two Memorial Trees in remembrance of a loved one now deceased, with a moment of silence to remember family and friends who are no longer with us, followed by the trees lit up with Christmas lights. The memorial trees remain lit until the new year.

The event serves as the culmination of Sierra Hospice’s yearly fundraising activities to help cover the costs of patient care, which provides free, end-of-life care for patients and emotional support to families and caregivers, Miller said.

As a way to raise funds community members purchase tree ornaments in memory of loved ones.

Anyone in the community who wants to support the organization can buy ornaments, Moore noted, regardless of whether or not they know someone in the hospice program.

Caring individuals can buy “annuals,” he said, that cost $10 per ornament, or three ornaments for $25, available for purchase by visiting the Sierra Hospice office located at 150 Brentwood Dr., or Forget-Me-Not thrift store at 684 Main Street in downtown Chester.

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Also available are “perpetual” white dove ornaments for $100, bought once and placed on a Memorial Tree for a year with the name of a loved one printed on it.

Moore said that buying ornaments is an ideal way to honor and cherish those who are no longer with us during the year and especially during the holiday season.

At the end of the ceremony attendees were offered refreshments and homemade snacks made by volunteers, along with hot beverages like coffee and hot cocoa. He said the room provided a space for people to offer fellowship with others in attendance.

“Plumas Bank employees and Sierra Hospice volunteers contributed greatly to make this year’s event a huge success,” Moore said, adding that, “The ceremony was a sweetly simple memorial to those members of our community that we have lost.”

The trees will remain inside the bank throughout the month of December.

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Sierra Hospice can be reached at 258-3412. Matt Moore can be contacted via email at:  [email protected]