An icon of the holiday season is back with the lighting this week of the Hospice Tree of Lights atop The Daily News building in Galveston.
A community tradition since 1989, the tree shines more brightly than ever with more than twice the number of individual lights — now there are more than 2,000 individual bulbs — as part of a major restoration performed this year by Hospice Care Team and The Daily News.
In addition to upgrading the original lighting to more energy-efficient LED bulbs, mechanical elements that raise the historic tree and protect it during bad weather were replaced. Many of the new parts had to be machined because the tree is so old, replacements just didn’t exist.
“We could not ask for anyone better than The Galveston County Daily News family to be our ‘partner in caring,’” said Joe Chapman, who heads up the Hospice Care Team. “The work that has been done refurbishing the majestic Tree of Lights assures it will be around for many years to come.”
The tree is a key part of the major fundraiser for the Hospice Care Team, allowing donors to purchase a light in honor or memory of someone aided by hospice services.
“Our goal is to raise $20,000 and we are halfway there,” Chapman said. “Most of the donations are $25 to $50.
“This just shows how many believe in the Hospice Care Team and our mission to deliver hope, help, and comfort. These funds are used for those patients who are terminally ill and have no resources for hospice care.”
The Daily News and the Hospice Care Team have a long relationship.
The Daily News is especially proud of the great work the Hospice Care Team provides to people. Services the group provides to people in their greatest time of need allows individuals and families to spend their most difficult days in dignity.
The Hospice Care Team also provides services for children through a pediatric palliative care program named the Sea Turtle Program. And different from the adult hospice track, children are allowed to continue to receive medical care from doctors in hopes of reversing their conditions.
There is an additional element to the newspaper’s support of the organization and its efforts.
The Daily News is not unlike any other business — we feel like a family and act like a family. This year we’ve experienced losses of loved ones who lived out their final days under the professional care of a hospice team. And knowing how comforting this was to everyone involved only underscores our support of the Hospice Care Team.
If you would like to contribute to the Hospice Care Team so it can continue efforts on behalf of people and families in need, please visit hospicecareteam.org or call 409-938-0070.
• Leonard Woolsey
Editor’s note: The Daily News is making a financial contribution to the Hospice Care Team in the memory of employees and the relatives of people who died in 2019.