Holiday events set across the city

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Dylan Pruitt took a test drive in the replica of a 1938 fire engine red roadster on Wednesday, and he’s put his stamp of approval on the car that will be raffled off in the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society’s Annual Candlelight Tour this weekend.

The pedal car would put a smile on the face of any young driver, and for the holidays it can be seen today in the Seaboard Station Railroad Museum on North Main Street. Tickets are available all day at the station, and proceeds from the raffle will benefit the historical society’s &uot;Dawson House&uot; project.

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Starr Motors of Suffolk provided the little car in memory of Nellie White, the mother of Clay White, owner of Starr Motors, and she was a faithful supporter of the historical society.

As White is remembered by this special project, others will be memorialized by Obici Hospital’s Bereavement Support Group.

This gathering will sponsor a memorial service today for people who died in the past year. The public is invited to attend, and all guests will have the opportunity to place an ornament on a tree in memory of a deceased loved one.

The service will take place at 6 p.m. in classrooms C and D on the Garden Level, and it will precede the Obici Volunteer Auxiliary’s Tree Lighting Ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Obici Planetree Rose Garden behind the building.

Debbie Williams, president of the hospital’s Auxiliary Corps of Volunteers, invites all Suffolk residents to kick off the holiday season by attending this special illumination ceremony. The event serves as the organization’s largest fundraiser each year.

Each year, the auxiliary receives donations ranging from $5 to $100 for lights to be placed on the tree, with the $100 light going into the star at the top of the tree, she said.

Those who purchase lights do so to honor a friend or loved one, or to remember someone who has died.

The Obici Tree of Lights is a part of the hospital’s history and it has become a local symbol of the holidays for many people. It is located in a highly visible place where even the patients can easily see it from their rooms. It’s also visible from the Courtyard Caf dining area where visitors at the hospital can view it.

Over the years, funds raised from the project have benefited both the hospital and people in the community.

For example, this year the auxiliary contributed donated $20,000 to Obici’s Breast Health Center. In past years, proceeds have gone to purchase playground equipment, establish the Memorial Garden, and purchase a van for a mobile hospital unit.

Typically, hospitals have annual services in memory of former patients, but anyone grieving for a loved one is welcome to attend the Bereavement Support Group’s service. Later, children from the hospital’s day care center will add additional ornaments to the tree.

The Auxiliary’s Tree of Lights fundraiser will also feature the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Choral Group, and Santa and Nana Claus will make an appearance. Refreshments will be served in the Courtyard Caf.

Order forms for the Tree of Lights will be available that evening and are in the hospital gift shop now.

For more information on the Bereavement Support Group and the memorial service, call 934-4627. For more information on the Tree of Lights, call 934-4789.