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Light Up A Life helps people remember loved ones during the holidays

Hospice of Santa Barbara hosts Light Up A Life ceremony in Montecito
Tracy Lehr / KEYT

MONTECITO, Calif. – Hospice of Santa Barbara is marking its 40th year hosting ceremonies of light, love, remembrance, and unity.

The Cold Spring School Chorus lifted spirits at Wednesday's Light Up A Life ceremony in Montecito.

Firefighters brought their ladders to help people place stars as high on the holiday tree.

Although Hospice is marking its 40th year, the ceremony on the Upper Village Green began after the deadly Montecito mudslide that will mark its sixth anniversary next month.

"We wrote down all the people missing or confirmed lost, said Montecito Firefighter Jered Walberg, " It is all hard for us to go back through those memories, and, well, we miss everybody very much."

Some local sisters placed a star on the tree honoring their late mother Audrey Jungermann who was in hospice care before she died a few years ago.

Maryanne Brillhart and Terri Maher said she loved Christmas.

They added an ornament to the star they received for a hospice donation.

"We miss her, yeah we miss her, we are so glad they do this, we love the kids singing."

Hospice of Santa Barbara's Director of Strategic Advancement Charles Caldwell said it helps a lot of people.

"Knowing that they are all going through their journey that they all miss loves ones; a grandma; a partner; or a child, we are in this together something that really does help open up people's hearts a little bit more and kind of bring us some comfort," said Caldwell.

Local poet laureate Melinda Palacio read "What The Birds Know."

Then the audience counted down to light the tree as the sun set.

Rev. Julia Hamilton of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara  said whether your grief is new and raw or seasoned it is felt one minute at a time.

There are a couple more ceremonies coming up this weekend in Goleta and Carpinteria.

The ceremony in Carpinteria will take place by the Seal Fountain on Linden Ave. on Saturday at 5 p.m.

The ceremony in Goleta will take place at the Camino Real Marketplace near Storke and Marketplace Dr. on Sunday at 5 p.m.

The recommended donation per star is $15.

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Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Hospice of Santa Barbara
Light Up A Life Ceremony
Santa Barbara

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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