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Jefferson Hospital to say 'thank you' with light-up night

| Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 9:07 a.m.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
Tom Barnes, left, and general maintenance manager Rich Preffer install the tree for the inaugural light-up event at Jefferson Hospital.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
The Christmas tree atop the canopy at Jefferson Hospital will be lit for the first time Wednesday evening.

This is the time of year when folks like to remember those who are important to them.

Jefferson Hospital is giving a gift to the communities it serves ­— its first light-up night.

“We've never done this before,” president and CEO John Dempster said. “We want to reach out to all of our communities. Last year we tried to go to as many community light-up nights as we could.”

Those communities and their leaders, their emergency medical services and other first responders have been invited to take part in Wednesday's celebration at 7 p.m. at the hospital's main entrance.

“We wanted to do something that would be a tribute to all those people who were faithful to us during the year,” Dempster said.

Festivities will include carols, refreshments and the lighting of a 62-foot garland tree.

General maintenance manager Richard Preffer said the tree, which is perched atop the canopy at the main entrance, was designed by his department.

“They wanted to do a live tree, but with the time frame we had we weren't able to do that,” Preffer said.

Instead, they decided on the garland tree, which is similar to the one at Allegheny General Hospital. Preffer noted that Jefferson is part of the Allegheny Health Network.

“We decided to use the garland so there was something to see during the day instead of just cable,” Preffer said. “We used blue and green because those are the colors of (Allegheny Health Network).”

Along with the big tree, Preffer said there will be several smaller stick trees on the island in the parking lot and lights around the sign at the entrance.

“We're excited about this, but nothing will be lit until Wednesday,” he said.

The lobby is decked out with a 20-foot tree and a large nativity scene. Refreshments will be available on the second-floor mezzanine.

Dempster said that, when the trees are lit, “we will spend time together to say thank you for making Jefferson a successful community hospital.”

“When I took this job,I was not just an administrator,” Dempster said. “Our nature is to reach out to the communities we serve and we want to continue doing that.”

Dempster hopes light-up night becomes an annual event.

“My plan is to do it every year,” he said. “When we took the idea to the board, they were ecstatic to do it. I would imagine we will continue this and get better each year and include the community more and more.”

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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