Lights of Love continues for 32nd year

Published 8:49 pm Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s Lights of Love celebration has brought joy to the community for 32 years.

The annual tradition continued Thursday, and this time, it signaled a new chapter for the hospital.

Construction crews broke ground on Vidant Beaufort’s emergency room expansion in July. The expansion, however, meant the original Lights of Love tree would have to be cut down to make room. A new one was planted near the south entrance of the hospital in anticipation of the expansion, so the tree could take solid root before Thursday’s celebration.

Pam Shadle, manager of marketing and public relations at Vidant Beaufort, said cutting down the original tree was bittersweet. She said the hope is to watch this new tree flourish for at least the next 30 years.

This year’s Lights of Love kicked off with a performance courtesy of the St. John Church of Christ Men’s Choir. After opening remarks, the Eastern Elementary School chorus, directed by Jawanda Waters, took the stage to perform a handful of Christmas carols. Students performed familiar favorites including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Feliz Navidad.”

“It’s really important to us to be involved in the community,” Shadle said. “Three years ago, we chose Eastern Elementary as our Bright Futures partner. It’s a partnership we have truly enjoyed. We love being at the school. We love helping out with their activities.”

Lights of Love began in 1985 as an event to kick off the holiday season of giving. Those in the community could donate a small amount to have a light included on the tree in honor of a loved one. Donations fund a variety of projects throughout the year, including health education, community wellness and patient care initiatives.

Part of the celebration involves an annual art contest for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The top three artists were announced in each grade level Thursday, just before the tree-lighting ceremony rounded out the evening.

NEW TRADITION: The community celebrated around a new tree this year, after the original Lights of Love tree was cut down to make room for the emergency room expansion.


Best of Show

Madilynn Moore, second grade, Chocowinity Primary


  • First place: Terrance Jackson, Chocowinity Primary
  • Second place: Ella Nelson, Northeast Elementary
  • Third place: Nasir Cobb, Eastern Elementary

First grade

  • First place: Adrian Dudley, Washington Montessori
  • Second place: Zhakarra Bailey, Chocowinity Primary
  • Third place: Lilly Suggs, S.W. Snowden Elementary

Second grade

  • First place: Yasmin Ramirez, John Cotten Tayloe
  • Second place: Elyn Buck, Chocowinity Primary
  • Third place: Mallory Robinson, Bath Elementary

Third grade

  • First place: Zeke Blackmon, Washington Montessori
  • Second place: Haylee Caudill, Bath Elementary
  • Third place: Harrison Hopkins, Northeast Elementary

Fourth grade

  • First place: Lesly Resendiz, John Small Elementary
  • Second place: Graham Wynne, Bath Elementary
  • Third place: Kenberly Adams, S.W. Snowden Elementary

Fifth grade

  • First place: Alyssa Whitted, Bath Elementary
  • Second place: Kiley Jackson, Northeast Elementary
  • Third place: Melanie Lopez, John Small Elementary

HE SEES YOU WHEN YOU’RE SLEEPING: Christmas festivities abounded at Thursday night’s Lights of Love celebration. Along with singing Christmas carols, children could also visit with Santa in the hospital lobby.