Inova Mount Vernon Hospital's annual "Lights of Love" fund-raiser/tree lighting ceremony seemed particularly appropriate this past Saturday night; the season's first snowfall descended as the switch was thrown to light the large live evergreens growing just beyond the hospital's main entrance.
As usual, this 27th consecutive holiday event featured a variety of music selections by both the Mirage Advanced Women's Chorus of Mount Vernon High School under the direction of Judi Belzer as well as from the band of Dr. Cleve Francis, a cardiologist at IMVH. Francis also sang the tree lighting dedication song, which he wrote and composed, "Light Up the Night."
In addition to holiday music, attendees, who overflowed the hospital's lobby area, were treated to essays written by four area elementary school students: Cole Purser, Waynewood Elementary; Starr Clark, Fort Hunt Elementary; Evie Strobel, Waynewood Elementary, and Max Dacey, Fort Hunt Elementary. Each essay expressed that child's view of the holiday season.
Sponsored by the IMVH Auxiliary, the Lights of Love event was initiated "to remember loved ones and to honor special friends," Auxiliary President Jimmi Barnwell told the audience. All funds from the event are donated to IMVH for an annually designated specific project.
This year's proceeds will support funding for a new program designed to improve operations in the hospital's emergency department. That department will be implementing a medical evaluation service for patients coming to the ER who have non-life threatening issues, but need medical attention, according the evening's program.
The goal of this process is to create a special area for those patients to be seen in a timelier manner, according to the Auxiliary. "Through this new program we hope to be able to see more patients more quickly in our ER," said IMVH President and CEO Barbara Doyle.
Each light on the trees represents "a tribute to a loved one given by an individual or group," the Auxiliary stated. The decision for use of each year's funds in made jointly by the hospital and Auxiliary.