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This year marks the eleventh year for the Holiday Tree Walk held in the lobby of Virginia Gay Hospital. The annual event is a local favorite hosted by both the respiratory and human resource departments of VGH. For the third consecutive year, Farmers Savings Bank and Trust, has signed on as the exclusive corporate sponsor as area individuals, organizations and businesses donate a wide variety of fully decorated Christmas trees and holiday fare for this silent auction.


A glance through the lobby shows a great deal of creativity going into each of the displays. There are over 55 unique exhibits with many handcrafted and one-of-kind items created just for the event. Kim Frank, VGH Human Resource Director and one of the organizers, says, “It’s impressive to see the effort that goes into each donation. Some of the trees have very personal meaning behind them, and others are a labor of love. They all showcase a tremendous amount of creativity. We feel fortunate to have such strong community support each year.”   


One of those personal stories is the tree titled “Tamie’s Christmas” donated by Nancy, Jeremy, Katlyn, and Courtney Hlas. Nancy is the VGH respiratory therapy manager and an event organizer. The tree is in memory of Tamie Ann Matheny, who died in a car accident in November 2018. Tamie was a firefighter and a member of the Van Horne First Responders. She had also served on various EMS organizations, including North Benton Ambulance. Many of the items used in the display reflect Tamie’s personality and showcase her involvement in the community.


Marcy Johnson is donating a holiday display for the first time. She is currently a nurse practitioner student and is working with Ali LaGrange, ARNP, in the Vinton Family Medical Clinic. Marcy is also the owner of Rustic Creations and has been in business in downtown Vinton for the past two years. “I enjoy making everyone’s Pinterest inspirations come to life. I’m always looking for other opportunities to give back to the community and get to know new people and this year’s event was a great way to accomplish that.”


An annual participant, Mossman Law Firm, has donated two different displays this year. Deb Kacena explains, “We wanted to honor Mark Mossman on his retirement from the Virginia Gay Hospital board of directors with a traditional tree as we’ve done in the past, but we also wanted to do something a little less traditional.” Deb shared the significance of donating a traditional tree.


“We have participated in this event since the very beginning. I remember putting together our first display and feeling very excited about what I had done. At the time, Keith Mossman was a resident of Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab. Once the tree was set-up, I brought him to the lobby to take a look. His initial reaction was disappointing. In his mind, it wasn’t a big, traditional tree, and he didn’t think it would sell well. But each day, he would have someone take him back to the lobby to check on the bidding and got more and more excited as the bids started adding up. He was thrilled when there was a bidding war in the final moments of the auction. Our display was one of the top sellers. From that year on, we’ve had a traditional tree for Keith and now, this year, for Mark.”


Another new participant this year is Cedar Valley Bank and Trust. Bank employee, Michelle Oldfather, found inspiration for their display titled, “Christmas on the Farm” by browsing through the aisles of area craft stores. “We are so excited to be a part of this year’s event,” Michelle shared. “Virginia Gay does so many good things for our community; we saw this as a good way to say thank you and show them support in return.”   


Christmas trees are not the only items for bid. This year’s wreath titled “Truckin’ to Grandma’s” donated by the Virginia Gay Hospital X-Ray Department is a wonderful example that is sure to add Christmas spirit to any setting.


Community members are encouraged to browse the displays and place bids in person from now through November 26. The public is also invited to the close of bidding, taking place promptly at 5 pm on the 26th. Please visit for photos of this year’s displays.


Proceeds from this year’s event will go to the VGHHCF Annual Campaign: Tree of Lights. Funds raised are used to support healthcare in Benton County and improve the care provided to our community. For more information, please visit


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