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A tree-making tradition

Charity auction nets $3,260 for three causes

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Montanna Buck, 11, and her mother Kristi, who is affiliated with Universal Home Health and Hospice, peruse a selection of Christmas trees Tuesday at Heartland of Bellefontaine’s annual charity auction. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

Making Christmas trees for Heartland of Bellefontaine’s annual charity auction has become a tradition interwoven with personal sentiment for several of the participants.

“This has become a family project for us,” said Rhonda Neely Myers, who created two trees for the event that raised $3,260 to be split among Toasty Tots, which provides warm clothing for children; the Logan County Friendly Senior Center and Heartland’s own resident activity fund.

One of the two trees was dedicated to the recent loss of her husband, Roger Myers.

“He died three weeks ago of kidney failure from complications of diabetes,” Ms. Myers said as she reflected on the sparkling red and blue tree she decorated with ornaments of the Cleveland Indians and its mascot Chief Wahoo. “Roger was a huge Indians fan and referred to them as ‘my Indians.’ ”

The second tree she and family members put together was dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and the caregivers who support those afflicted because the family has been going through such an experience with a loved one, Ms. Myers said.

Last year, the tree they made was dedicated to cancer awareness after she was diagnosed with the disease.

Similarly, event organizer Michele Jones’ 11-year-old nephew Hayes Godwin started a tradition of dedicating a tree to his grandfather Charlie Godwin who died in 2011 and was honored with a John Deere-themed tree at last year’s event.

“He wouldn’t let anyone help him because he wanted to do it himself,” Ms. Jones said of her nephew’s effort, which featured a variety of candy Mr. Godwin was known for treating his grandchildren with.

But the tradition is likely coming to an end for a pair of close friends who are preparing to leave for college after graduation this spring.

“We’ve been doing this seven or eight years and got involved because our parents used to do it,” said Beth Warrick who worked with her friend Julia Hunt to make a Frosty the Snowman design.

“When we made our first Ohio State tree it made $400 to $500 and we decided we wanted to keep doing it,” Beth said. “We’ve always been the types to throw our hearts out there.”

Probably one of the most memorable trees for the duo over the years was a salute to the men and women serving overseas.

“The person who bought it was going to send it to their neighbor who was serving in Iraq,” Beth said. “We got to go help pack it and send it. It was a huge blessing to us.”

The two top selling items among the 32 donated were a snowman quilt made by Dawn Wenger that earned a $250 bid from Tom Godwin, Ms. Jones said. Second was a pair of white trees made by Eileen Smith that brought in a $200 bid from Stuart Jenkins.

Mr. Jenkins also contributed to the cause by placing the top bid on three other trees and donating them back to be resold, Ms. Jones said.

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