Relay for Life’s traveling luminaria tree

At the courthouse
At the courthouse

This year Greene County will celebrate its 20th Relay for Life on April 23 at the Greene County Community Center in Jefferson.

Part of the annual event has been to honor friends and family who have been affected by cancer with a special recognition, the luminaria. White paper bags are decorated and lit during an inspirational ceremony at each event. So what is done with dozens of luminaria which are lovingly decorated in memory or in honor of a loved one after the event has ended? The local Relay for Life committee discovered a way to display the luminaria beyond the date of the Relay.

In 2014, the committee decided to have a “tree” made on which to display the luminaria at the Greene County courthouse rotunda during the community Christmas tree lighting in December.

At Christ Lutheran Church (from left) Relay for Life committee members Cindy Tapper, Jan Rosdail and Ashley Beekman
At Christ Lutheran Church (from left) Relay for Life committee members Cindy Tapper, Jan Rosdail and Ashley Beekman

The frame for the tree was constructed by students from Greene County High School. It was so special, the decision was made to share it during the year with friends around the county. Following its debut, the tree traveled to the Presbyterian and the Methodist churches for display. This past December, the tree displaying Luminaria from the 2015 Relay again found its way to the courthouse for the community Christmas tree lighting.

It is currently being enjoyed by the members of Christ Lutheran Church. Its next stop will be at the Rippey Community Center on Feb. 21, where it will be hosted by Team Velda, a Rippey area Relay for Life team that honors the memory of Velda DeMoss.

Decorating bags for 2016 may begin anytime. The white bags are purchased for a suggested $10 contribution and are decorated by friends, family, school children, or members of the luminaria team.  They are hung during Relay for Life, where a ceremony honors survivors and memorializes those who have lost the fight to cancer.

Persons who would like purchase a bag or arrange to have the tree displayed in their community can contact Shirley Stapleton 515-386-2804.

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