Tree of Love fitting tribute to Newman

Sampson Regional Medical Center’s Tree of Love embodies community and, through its annual lighting continues to be a shining example of what the coming together of a community can do to inspire hope, bring a smile and, at the same time, advance a medical cause that will benefit all those within Sampson’s reach and beyond.

The lights on the tree were turned on Sunday, illuminating not only the courtyard of the Woodside Professional Building but signifying the light of love that is ignited within the hearts of all those who use it as a symbolic way to honor or memorialize a loved one.

That it is a beacon of light seems a fitting tribute again this year to the tree’s honoree, Dr. William “Bill” Newman, a man who has dedicated a lifetime to the care of others, in particular their hearts. As an interventional cardiologist, Newman has brought light into the lives of countless individuals through the healthcare he has helped to provide.

Over the course of three-plus decades, Sampson’s native son has offered untold hours of service and many acts of kindness to the people here and beyond. From starting Wake Heart Associates in Raleigh to returning to Clinton every Tuesday for the past 15 years to offer patient care to those in his hometown, Newman has immersed himself in caring for others, sharing his time and talents with both individuals and our hospital.

It is impressive that Newman, renowned in his field, has never once forgotten his roots or failed to share his knowledge and medical acumen with those back home, something in which we, as a community, owe him a debt of gratitude.

Honoring him through the Tree of Love shows him, we hope, how much this community appreciates the work he has done and the love he has offered.

The Tree of Love, begun by the Sampson County Medical Society Alliance in 1989 and now continued by the Sampson Regional Medical Center Foundation, has, through continued donations, brought over $125,000 to the hospital’s coffers, money that has gone to help fund a number of hospital projects, including the purchase of medical equipment, waiting area renovations, a skilled nursing day room and employee tuition assistance.

All are worthwhile projects that might not have been possible — or at least would have taken far more time to complete — without the support of a generous community willing to tout the annual honoree or honorees with financial contributions to the tree’s fund.

This year — and very apropos — money raised will be designated for the purchase of cardiology equipment to support the hospital’s expansion of inpatient cardiology services, yet another way to honor Newman.

Like the tree which brightly shines this year in honor of him, Newman has lighted the way, setting an example we hope others will follow, giving to their fellow man and working to improve the quality of life for all Sampsonians.

As a symbol of hope and love, the SRMC Tree of Love offers an opportunity for individuals to do something special for a loved one, honoring or memorializing them through a monetary gift that is represented by the lights on the tree. As the tree twinkles each night, let us all be reminded of those honored and memorialized, remembering the light they are to us and our community.

We offer our gratitude to all those who provide this kind of special gift to individuals, a way of saying thanks, I love you or I will always remember you while, at the same time, helping fund needed projects at the hospital.

We applaud the hospital for its continuation of the Tree of Love, participants for their support of this great community endeavor and Newman, not only for being recognized in a most deserving way but for a lifetime of giving back.