Woodfin – By Clint Parker
Woodfin – On a blustery April day, staff, family and friends recognized residents of Emerald Ridge lost to COVID-19 by planting a weeping cherry tree on facility grounds.
The memorial took place on Friday, April 30th. The tree was planted to remember the 22 occupants of the care facility and help the families and the staff bring closure to those lives, some of which died without family present.
The ceremony opened as Emerald Ridge Administrator Tom Hager welcomed those who came, including Woodfin Mayor Jerry VeHaun.
“I want to recognize Connie [Bradbury] for putting a lot of this together,” Hager said. “It just seems very appropriate a year later after COVID first hit our society to recognize these and this will grow up to be a beautiful weeping cherry.”
He then turned it over to Hospice Chaplin Cindy Coleman, who gave an opening prayer.
Then, attendees were invited to sing along with the gospel song, Beulah Land, which was a favorite of many of the residents. Afterward, Coleman asked the assembly to help with a responsive reading. She offered a short message. “We gather this day to celebrate and plant a tree in honor of those who we love and have gone on,” Coleman said. She then read a passage from Psalms 100.
Emerald Ridge Activities Director Connie Bradbury read the names of those who had passed aloud; Resident Council President Sandy [no last name given] rang a bell when each of the 22 names were called.
Hagar followed the name reading by saying, “It struck me that the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, and when the bell was rung at the end of the movie, an angel got their wings. So each one of these people is now in the presence of the Lord and they got their wings and they are truly angels.”
Then, family members and staff were invited to throw a shovel full of dirt in the hole where the tree was planted. Coleman closed the memorial in prayer, and Hagar urged people to join in some light refreshments.