CARTHAGE, Ill. — The Memorial Hospital Foundation and Memorial Hospital plan to add to the holiday spirit in Carthage with a Celebration of Trees.

Seventy trees strung with white lights and adorned with decorated tree toppers will be placed on the Hancock County Courthouse square to mark the hospital’s 70th anniversary and benefit the foundation.

“It will just really be something hopefully the community will enjoy, and under the circumstances with COVID, it will be something they can get out and enjoy,” said Greta Wetzel, the foundation’s executive director.

“It’s an outside activity. They can drive by and enjoy the lights during the evening,” she said. “It will be a good thing for us to celebrate, and it will raise a little money for our campaign this year.”

Trees will be delivered Nov. 24, then will be decorated and remain in place through the first of the year.

About 20 trees remain to be sponsored at $175 for the tree and topper, $100 for the tree only or $75 for the topper.

“People have really rallied around and supported this event — individuals and businesses,” Wetzel said.

Arches topped with a star will be placed on the sidewalks around the square, with a fifth star as part of a separate 12-foot tree on the Hancock Village senior living campus, to celebrate that Memorial is a five-star hospital this year.

Four trees, one on each side of the square, will honor military service members.

Memorial “opened in 1950. Our guys and gals coming home from the war really had a hand in building the hospital,” Wetzel said. “This is a really nice way to recognize them, to remember them.”

Community members may contribute a photo of a family member or friend who is serving or has served in any branch of the military. The photos will be laminated and hung on one of the trees. Photos, no larger than 4-by-6 inches, should not be originals and will not be returned.

Photos may be emailed to and mailed to Memorial Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 160, Carthage, IL 62321 by Nov. 20.

Another tree will honor past and present Memorial Hospital staff. A $70 donation — mailed to the foundation with the health care hero’s name and years of service if known — will earn a staff member a name tag on the tree.

A 12-foot Stars of Christmas tree on the Hancock Village campus will honor senior living residents. With a free will donation mailed to the foundation, an ornament with the name of a Hickory Grove or Maple Grove resident will be placed on the tree.

A similar event was held once before, with 25 sponsored trees to mark the 25th year of the Carthage Chamber’s Christmas Open House, but expanded for 2020 as a way to benefit the “Together We Grow” campaign supporting the foundation’s endowment.

“It’s a way for us to engage with the community and do something special along with pulling it back to our campaign,” Wetzel said. “We hope people drive by and have something fun to look at, something positive to think about during this Christmas season.”

More Information

More information about the Celebration of Trees is available by calling Greta Wetzel at 309-221-7286 or Jennifer Garner at 217-357-8568 and online at

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