The Auxiliary of University Hospitals Portage Medical Center recently held its annual A Celebration of Lights at the main entrance of the facility in Ravenna. The event began with music provided by the Ravenna High School Choir, under the direction of Julie Sterba. 

Angie Reedy and Karen Horky, co-presidents of the Auxiliary, welcomed guests to the gathering. The guest speaker was Bill Benoit, chief operating officer of UH Portage. The invocation and a reflective moment of silence were led by Bill Wisniewski, pastoral care volunteer chaplain at UH. 

The candlelight procession was led by Sandra Haskell, volunteer services manager, followed by refreshments in the main lobby of the hospital. 

In 1987, the Auxiliary initiated A Celebration of Lights event to provide the community an opportunity to honor or remember in memory loved ones during the holiday season. The hundreds of holiday lights and decorations both inside and outside the hospital "provide a lovely visual, while helping raise funds for the vital services and programs. 

This year, there were more than 800 lights lit for a loved one (at $5 each), nearly 140 angels on the Tree of Angels (at $50 each), 34 silver trees (at $100 each) and 13 gold trees (at $200+ each). The event raised nearly $17,000. 

Proceeds from this year’s A Celebration of Lights will be designated toward the Auxiliary’s $500,000 pledge to the hospital in support of a new pediatric and adult specialty clinic wing. 

Since its inception, A Celebration of Lights has raised more than $440,000 to fund several of the Auxiliary’s commitments to the hospital. The Auxiliary has been a significant donor for renovations to the Emergency Department, Surgical Waiting Room, Palliative Care patient rooms, Cardiovascular Department, Main Lobby entrance and Gift Shop.

It has also supported the purchasing of imaging and mammography equipment for radiology services, heart monitors, pediatric endoscopes, and newborn sleepsaks. The Auxiliary awards two $1,000 scholarships annually to Portage County high school graduates pursuing a nursing degree, sponsors Women’s Health programming, and supports the hospital’s Farmers Market.