Tree honors veterans this holiday season

Tree honors veterans this holiday seasonThe Veterans Memorial Tree was lit up at the Richford Plaza last weekend. Bulbs, in which a veteran name can be written upon it, are for sale until Dec. 24 at various locations. Photo credit: Scott Armstrong.

On Nov. 26 a tree lighting at the Richford Plaza in Richford kicked off the holiday season, while honoring veterans. The tree, which was installed just one day prior at the plaza, was lit up last Saturday, with bulbs gracing it to offer a special meaning.

Dawn Potter and her husband, Geoffrey, wanted to see the tree lit up in the center of town again this year and also wanted to find a way to help veterans. Through the sale of bulbs with the name of a veteran etched upon them, the ornament sales, thus far, have raised almost $400 and the dollars are still coming in.

Tree honors veterans this holiday season

Dawn Potter, left, welcomes guests to a tree lighting ceremony in Richford last Saturday as Dean Morgan, VFW Post 1371 Commander, stands by, prepared to read the names of veterans represented so far on this year’s tree. Photo credit: Scott Armstrong.

“It’s a nice tribute to veterans,” said Dawn, who runs the Country Moose and helped organize this year’s bulb sale along with her husband, and in partnership with Richford Pizza Plus and the Owego VFW. 

Last Saturday there were about 100 bulbs on the tree as guests arrived for the tree’s official lighting. Dean Morgan, commander of Owego’s VFW and Richard Kidney, also with the VFW, offered a brief service to read the names of those on the bulbs purchased so far, and a Dryden American Legion Member played taps for those deceased and named on the tree.

“On behalf of the Post and its members,” said Morgan, “I want to thank Dawn and Geoff from the Country Moose and Bostwick Auction for selling bulbs, and the folks at the Richford Plaza for thinking of us and our fellow veterans.”

Tree honors veterans this holiday season

Dean Morgan, VFW Commander, and Richard Kidney read the names of veterans during a tree lighting ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Tree, set up at the Richford Plaza. Photo credit: Scott Armstrong.

Much effort went into this year’s tree, and it took a community.

According to Dawn, Hunt’s Tree Service donated the tree, George Hoffmier and George Jr. picked it up, Crispell Aerial Service helped to install it, and Tyler and Craig Sicina, from Richford, installed things on Friday, just one day prior to the lighting ceremony last Saturday.

Hoffmier Sr., who owns Pizza Plus in the Richford Plaza, was happy to help out with the effort this year, and where veterans can be honored.

Tree honors veterans this holiday season

Santa leans over to flip the switch for the Veterans Memorial Tree, located at the Richford Plaza. Photo credit: Scott Armstrong.

Ornaments will remain on sale through Christmas Eve, and the bulbs will stay up on the tree until New Year’s Eve. They are available for a cost of $4, and can be purchased at the Country Moose, located at 13294 Route 38 Thursday through Monday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; at the Richford Pizza Plus; or at the Owego VFW Post, located on Main Street in Owego. 

One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the VFW and its programs. 

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