DECATUR—St. Mary’s Hospital is lighting up the holiday season with its annual star lighting ceremony next week.
For 17 years the 24 foot star has served as a beacon of light from atop the roof of the hospital. The star originated in 1998 when it was purchased with a donation from the late Dr. John White. Since its inception, the star has helped the foundation purchase new surgical suites, surgical equipment, portable ultrasounds, and patient beds, among other necessities.
St. Mary’s President Dan Perryman has only been at the hospital for a year and a half, but says the significance of the star was not lost on him, “This has been something that people have looked to and have looked at for nearly two decades, I think it’s become more than something that St. Mary’s does and is a part of the holiday tradition in the community.”
This year, WSOY and NowDecatur.com helped the St. Mary’s Foundation by selling sponsorships to 500 of the 700 lights on the star, raising roughly $30,000 in the process.
The first star was purchased in honor of late-mayor Mike McElroy, who passed away in July of this year.
McElroy’s brother Tim said the donation meant a lot to his family, especially this year, “Every time I drive down Lake Shore Drive or drive by the lake I will be able to look up and see the star and think of Tuna, it just really means a lot.”
The star-lighting service will take place at St. Mary’s Hospital on Tuesday, December 8th at 5:30 pm.
You can still give to St. Mary’s to dedicate a star to a loved one that has passed away. To donate you can contact the St. Mary’s Foundation at 424-2966.