By Joel van der Veen
DUNDURN — The fund for Dundurn’s new fire hall got a major boost as the community gathered for the lighting of the Memory Tree late last month.
Organizers said the project has raised more than $15,000 this year, and with donations still coming in, the total could exceed $20,000.
The ceremony on Nov. 27 included the singing of Christmas carols, lots of homemade goodies and a time to remember loved ones.
“It was a wonderful, moving ceremony,” said organizer Rosalind Arndt, part of the six-member committee behind this year’s program. “It was just so nice.”
Arndt estimated the crowd in attendance at over 100 people, including several members of the Dundurn Emergency Response Team.
Now in its fourth year, the memory tree lighting ceremony, initiated by Glen Cline, has become something of an annual tradition for Dundurn and area residents.
The tree, located outside the Dundurn Community Hall, was decorated by Patty and Sam Posnikoff. It will continue to be lit until mid-January.
Residents were invited to purchase a bulb for $20 in memory of a loved one, while personal or corporate donations and sponsorships were also accepted.
Arndt said there were upwards of 25 corporate sponsors this year. All donations in excess of $200 are recognized on a permanent plaque made by Waylyn Signs.
The Friday night program was emceed by Steve Menshenfriend and led off with the singing of “O Canada” by Brenda Presnell. Reaschelle Higginbotham and Courtney Schroeder read the list of people being remembered and those who had purchased the bulbs in their memory.
A group of students from Dundurn Elementary School, led by vice-principal Kirsten Tucker, sang a selection of Christmas carols. Dundurn students were also responsible for the paper angels that adorned the hall.
Baked goods, many of them homemade, were donated by community members for the occasion, while a special cake in the shape of a tree was provided by Amanda Bell.
Arndt said the memory tree project raised just over $43,000 for the new hall in its first three years. Donations are still being accepted through the office of the Rural Municipality of Dundurn.
Serving on the committee along with Arnst were Barb Olyniuk, Tanya Richmond, Alysia Kuzma, Carolyn Cartwright and Patty Posnikoff.