Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who have passed away this year were remembered and honored Monday night, Nov. 14, with lights, songs and prayers. More than 100 people offered those songs and prayers during the annual Genesis Remembrance Tree Lighting ceremony outside the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, 2546 Tech Drive, Bettendorf. “Tonight, we remember those, who through living their lives, taught us how to live … and how to love,” Dr. Steve Sorensen, medical director of Genesis Hospice, said during Monday’s ceremony. That 30-minute ceremony, held on a chilly night, featured the lighting of a Christmas tree with strings of blue and white lights, a salute to military veterans, poems, a candle-lighting ceremony and songs by the CASI Golden Tones. But the main themes of the event were to honor those people who have passed away, and the health care workers who helped with their care. The tree-lighting has become a tradition for Genesis Hospice team members, who share pride in all the Remembrance Tree represents and plan the event to honor the hospice patients who have touched their own lives. “Genesis Hospice is where every life is extraordinary and honored as sacred,” Jamie Moen, Genesis Home and Community Services director, said in a news release before the ceremony. “The Genesis Remembrance Tree shines a light on the legacy of the patients who have received our care, and we hope it provides comfort to many.” During Monday’s ceremony, Dr. Sorensen said that many hospice workers were recently asked why they worked their jobs. “The overall theme was: ‘It’s an honor to work this job for our patients,’” he added. One of the main events on Monday night was a candle-lighting ceremony with several health care workers. Those taking part in the ceremony were Brittany Conklin, a nurse case manager; Marita Frietsch, a hospice aide; Casey Hess, an admission nurse; Betsy Nolan, a nurse case manager; Haley Ross, a nurse case manager; Julie VanMelkebeke, a nurse supervisor; and Diana Williams, a social worker. The health care workers lit five candles in honor of friends and family members. A sixth candle remained unlit to represent people who passed away on Monday. Since 2004, Genesis Remembrance Trees have honored more than 7,000 people and raised more than $100,000 for hospice care services. For some, the tree-lighting has become a family tradition – a way to pause during the busy holiday season and gather and remember along with the support of others. Genesis Hospice has partnered with Isabel Bloom to create a limited edition ornament for the 2022 Remembrance Tree. The ornament sale helps support Genesis hospice services and provides loved ones a way to adorn their own tree with loving thoughts of those they wish to always remember. Ornaments were available for purchase at the tree-lighting ceremony and can be ordered at https://e.givesmart.com/events/t8M/i/. This year’s Genesis Remembrance Tree was sponsored by Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home Inc.; Good Samaritan Society; McGinnis-Chambers Funeral Home; and American Bank & Trust.