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MGH to host 29th annual Lights of Love

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

Marion General Hospital will host its 29th annual Lights of Love ceremony tomorrow, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. in front of the 330 Building at 330 N. Wabash Ave.

Lights of Love is a Christmas lights display for remembering and celebrating loved ones and will stay lit until Jan. 1, 2019, explained Sheila Stewart of MGH Volunteer Services. Community members and organizations can honor individuals with a donation of $5 or more per name.

Lights are often sponsored for anniversaries, birthdays and thank yous as well as the memory of lost loved ones, said a press release from MGH. A list of honoree names will be on display in the hospital.

According to Stewart, the annual tradition was started in 1990 by David Brandes, a physician who worked at MGH. He and two volunteers went to a similar display in Ohio to learn about the tradition and bring it back with them.

While the hospital does not keep track of how many lights are sponsored each year, Stewart said she has definitely noticed an increase this year. Anyone can sponsor a light up through Dec. 31.

“We would encourage everyone to come out and see it,” Stewart said. “Every year we have someone special from the community or our hospital to command the lights to be turned on, and this year we have three people that it’s in honor of.”

This year’s honorees are Pam Amburgey and Dave and Jan Robinson, all retired MGH employees.

Amburgey worked in public relations for the hospital starting in 1995. In the 90s, the public relations department was in charge of the Lights of Love display. Amburgey developed such a passion for the tradition that, when she was hired into the gift shop by volunteer services, she stipulated that the Lights of Love display be moved into the department with her.

Jan Robinson, Pam’s sister, worked in the information technology department for 41 years, Stewart explained. Dave Robinson was the maintenance supervisor in 1990 who worked on the very first Lights of Love display. He worked at MGH for 32 years.

The three were scheduled to ceremonially command the light display be turned on together, but Dave Robinson passed away about two weeks ago. The two sisters will command the display as planned, with Dave Robinson’s memory in mind.

The ceremony on Sunday will be followed by refreshments and Christmas music in the Allspice Cafe. Those interested in sponsoring a Lights of Love honoree can obtain a form from Volunteer Services at 765-660-6410 or online at www.mgh.net.