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Ripon adding Tree of Lights as benefit for hospice effort
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RIPON – Coming soon: The Tree of Lights.

Ripon’s elected leaders have  paved the way for the Hospice of San Joaquin to place a string of LED lights – each light would represent the passing of a loved one to cancer – on a tree previously used by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce.

The energy efficient lights would be of minimal cost to the city.

“I don’t think we can put a price (on losing a loved one),” Councilman Chuck Winn said.

Council voted unanimously on the plan, 5-0.

 According to Carolyn Teixeira Gomes, who is the event coordinator for the Hospice of San Joaquin, communities such as Manteca, Tracy, Lockeford, and Rio Vista each have a Tree of Lights during the holiday season.

“We’re not a Christmas tree,” she said.

 Gomes noted that the Tree of Lights can help a grieving community member cope with remembering or honoring a loved one.

“The dedication of a light in memory of a loved one is a special and meaningful way to begin the holiday season,” she said.

The Hospice of San Joaquin has served Ripon since the early 1980s, providing medical and compassionate care counseling, and support to terminally ill patients and their families.

In 2011, this hospice handled 132 patients from Ripon, Manteca, Escalon and Farmington. Many of the volunteers and staff came from Ripon.

“We’ve all been touched by the loss of a loved one from cancer,” Councilman Dean Uecker said. “This is a no-brainer for us (to do the Tree of Lights).”

In addition, Hospice of San Joaquin will return any funds generated back to the community.  Services include hospice care in homes and facilities, with nurses available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.