Tree of Love, like its four honorees, lights the way

Sampson Regional Medical Center’s Tree of Love 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 will be 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 honorees — Dr. John Surratt, Dr. Mac Herring, Dr. Larry Rouse and Dr. Thomas Woods, four men who have, through the years, offered countless hours of service and untold acts of kindness across our great community.

The four, who have retired from their respective practices over the course of the last five years, have been deeply immersed in our community, making an impact both as great physicians and as great human beings, sharing their time and talents in a variety of ways for many, many years.

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 $100,000 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.

Those four doctors have collectively, and individually, made their mark on Sampson County, healthcare in our area and the community itself and are very deserving of the honor being bestowed upon them. Like the tree which brightly shines this year in honor of Surratt, Herring, Rouse and Woods, the doctors have 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.

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.

This year, proceeds from the Tree funds are being designated toward an ongoing Emergency Room renovation and expansion that will help accommodate a growing number of patients for the foreseeable future, making it a very fitting tribute to the four doctors being honored at the lighting of the tree.

Since its inception in 1989, the Tree of Love donations have climbed to more than $100,000, providing everything from medical equipment and renovations to employee educational opportunities.

All are very worthwhile expenditures that benefit many within our county. We applaud the hospital for its continuation of the Tree of Love, participants for their support of this great community endeavor and our four doctors for being recognized in a most deserving way.