Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo 

SAN ANGELO – “The origins of Light Up a Life have been an annual event for many hospices throughout the country for many years.  It is a community event to raise awareness about hospice and also gives people an opportunity to memorialize loved ones during the holiday season,” said Gina Councilman, Hospice Executive Director. 

Mike Andress provided special Christmas music during the LUL Memorial Christmas tree ceremony.

As for locally, Councilman informed Conexión that Hospice began this LUL Memorial Christmas tree ceremony in 1985, held first at Park 2400. This past Tuesday, December 19, Hospice held its 32nd annual Light Up a Life event in the lobby of the Cactus Hotel.

Conexión asked what was basically involved in the process of hanging a star on the tree?  

“On the night of the event, those in attendance are able to write the name of a loved one on a gold star and during a time of reflection and music everyone is able to hang their stars on the tree.” “Light Up a Life is not just intended for memorializing hospice patients.  Many people donate to this event and use it as a Christmas gift to honor friends or family members,” concluded Councilman.

Prior to the lighting of the Christmas tree with the names of loved ones placed on the back of the gold star, Karen Schmeltek of, Hospice Bereavement Counselor, briefly stated to the 50 attendees, “This season we are honoring the light of our loved ones.”  “Tonight, we celebrate their memories and the light of their lives which continues to burn.” 

Karen further stated the gold stars that each person was given symbolically represented memories of them. 

HOSA (Hospice of San Angelo) choir sang Christmas songs: "Joy to the World", "Hark the Herald Angels," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," etc.

Hospice of San Angelo staff; Gina Councilman, wearing blue with white is the executive director.

Left-to-right: Elizabeth and Mike Andress played the flute and piano during the LUL Memorial Christmas tree ceremony.

Persons wrote the names of their loved ones on the back of the gold star or a special memory about them. Schmeltek then invited everyone to come forward and place the star of their loved one on the Christmas tree. 

“As we turn on the lights to the Christmas tree, may the lights of our loved ones be illuminated by the collective memories which these lights represent,” concluded Schmeltek.

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