Wayne Carty honored his grandparents this holiday season by purchasing lights in their memory to display on a 25-foot evergreen tree at Glen Cove Hospital.
The 57-year-old hospital volunteer was participating in the 22nd Tree of Lights Ceremony on Friday with his girlfriend, Carol MacDonald, who he also purchased a light for.
“I thought this event was really special,” Carty said. “My grandmother used to volunteer here for years.”
The Tree of Lights raises funds for hospital programs and serves as a memorial to honor donors' families and friends. Friday’s event was arranged by Marge Flower, 74, the chairwoman of the Tree of Lights Ceremony.
“It’s really a tree of love,” said Flower, who bought a light in honor of her son serving in the military. “Everyone gives in this situation but no one loses -- everyone gains.”
Mayor Ralph Suozzi reminisced about how he was born at the hospital and that the hospital staff also mended his broken ankle when he was 7 years old. “There’s a tradition of caring that’s given all year round,” said Suozzi.
After his son, Carter Suozzi, 6, turned on the tree’s lights, members of the North Shore High School Chamber Orchestra performed holiday music. Guests also enjoyed holiday cookies, hot chocolate and eggnog.
One of the student orchestra members, Erica Palladino, 17, has been a hospital volunteer for the past five years.
“My favorite part was the fact that it brought so many different people together,” said Palladino.
Photo: The North Shore High School Orchestra plays holiday music for the Glen Cove Hospital's Tree of Lights ceremony. Members are, from left, Olivia Calcaterra, 17; Emary Parisi, 16; Erica Palladino, 17; Jamie Lee, 16; Jules Holtzman, 14; Liz Lucas, 16. (Dec. 9, 2011)