Hospice Memorial Friday

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Benewah County Hospice will host the Tree of Memories memorial service at 5:15 p.m. Friday at the courthouse in St. Maries.

The nonprofit organization has organized the ceremony for more than 20 years.

This year’s event includes a service conducted by Pastor Greg Worch, special music, and reading of the submitted names of deceased family and friends.

Each season Hospice collects names of the deceased with a $5 donation and places the names on an ornament that adorns the tree set up in the rotunda at the courthouse.

As of Friday afternoon approximately 150 names had been submitted, but Jeanne Johnson, who assembles the ornaments, said she expects that to double this week.

“People often wait until the last minute to get their names in, but I will be putting ornaments together up until Friday afternoon,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson has been involved with the organization for six years.

“I’ve been involved with so many people that have benefited from the program and I myself have had cancer and they helped me through it,” she said. “The organization does great things for our community.”

Jeanne Johnson puts together the personalized ribbons that decorate the Benewah County Hospice tree and garland each Christmas in the county courthouse. The nonprofit group organizes a memorial service each year. This year's service is 5:15 p.m. Friday.

Personalized ribbons and doves will be placed on the tree at the courthouse this year.

Previously residents in Plummer or on the WestSide of the county would submit names to be placed on doves for a separate tree and ceremony, however this year those names will join the others at the courthouse and no ceremony will be held in Plummer.

Names do not have to be submitted before the ceremony and will continue to be placed on the tree throughout the season. The tree will be dismantled after Christmas.

More than $1,500 is raised from the ornament sales each year. The money goes to purchase medical equipment that Hospice loans free of charge to families who have a loved one suffering an illness.

“All the money stays in Benewah County and helps support our medical equipment shed,” director Robin Hodgson said. “It is a free service we provide to county residents.”

Equipment includes wheelchairs, incontinent products, braces, walkers, crutches, canes, bath and shower stools, sheet and medical gowns.

“We have just about anything that people suffering with an illness might need,” she said.

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