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Tree of Lights remembers loved ones
The crowd admires the Hospice Tree of Lights after the lights were turned on Wednesday evening. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The 26th annual Tree of Lights Wednesday nearly became a night that no one would forget.
Rev. Curtis Kimbro had the honors of lighting the towering hospice tree consisting of over 1,000 strands of energy-efficient LED lights in front of Doctors Hospital of Manteca.
“I thought ‘no pressure’ (in turning on the Christmas tree lights),” said Kimbro of New Spirit Missionary Baptist Church in south Stockton.
He was right on cue on turning the ‘on’ switch of the oversized PG&E toggle. However, only the top strands of the tree lit immediately, with the other half following but only moments later.
That’s when Kimbro and others involved in this Hospice of San Joaquin event quietly let out a sigh of relief.
Of course, the significance of Tree of Lights is the memories of the loved ones who have passed on, according to Kathi Vaz.
She and Jennifer Giannini are both on the Hospice of San Joaquin board of directors. They welcomed those in attendance in front of the evergreen tree located at the corner of Cottage Avenue and East North Street.
Even the weather cooperated as temperatures were in the comfortable 50s.
“It’s warmer tonight than last year,” said Doctors Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Tony Garcia.
Shasta Elementary School sixth-grade student Elise Miller was among those recognized. She put together the winning art work for the event’s program cover.
Hospice of San Joaquin provides comprehensive and compassionate care, counseling, and support to those who are terminally ill as well as their families.
The Tree of Lights is a tradition for many of the families, according to Vaz and Giannini.
The kick-off event for Hospice of San Joaquin was last week’s Tree of Lights at San Joaquin Delta College.
In addition, Tree of Lights will be held in Lodi, Tracy, Lockeford, Escalon, Ripon and Rio Vista.
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