The 30th Annual Tree of Lights once again lit up the Village Green this holiday season on Saturday, December 5th, 2020 at 5:30 p.m..
The Rescue Squad was proud to illuminate the holiday tree virtually in 2020 due to social distancing guidelines. Thank you to Lysandra Plotkin, Jeiner Betancourt, Kristina Woo, Katrina and Mike Dumapit, Mayor Keith Balla, Jake Feldman and Don Monetti for their efforts to make this event possible.
You can be part of the celebration by placing a red light on our tree in honor of or white in memoriam of a person, family, friends, and others.
The names of honorees and remembrances will be posted on the illuminated display on the Village Green in time for the ceremony for those dedications received by November 30th. The display and our website will be continually updated throughout the holiday season. The dedications can be seen below.
To place a light on the tree, please complete the printed Dedication Order Form and mail it along with your tax-deductible donation of $50.00 per light or click the appropriate link below.
Your contribution to the Tree of Lights is not only a symbol of your feelings of gratitude and love, but also serves to help the Watchung Volunteer Rescue Squad with major endeavors. This year, through the generosity of the residents and businesses, the squad continues to provide high-quality, excellent Emergency Service. Thank you in advance for your continued support and contributions.
Place a red light on our tree to honor a person, family, friends, and others. Please include the name(s) of the honoree(s) in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org after your transaction.
Place a white light on our tree in memoriam of a person, family, friends, and others. Please include the name(s) of the remembrance(s) in an email to email@example.com after your transaction
The members of the Watchung Rescue Squad are proud to dedicate this year’s tree in honor of the active members of the Fire Department and Rescue Squad who have achieved the status of “Life Member” by serving their respective organizations for a designated period of time. They are all current members that have actively participated in and dedicated over 15 years of service. They are integral members that have helped shape these organizations for decades and have made the departments what they are today.
It is increasingly difficult today to dedicate time and regularly commit to volunteering, but each of these individuals have gone above and beyond throughout the years. They have all held multiple leadership positions and now serve as role models for their organization’s new leadership and members. They have families and regular jobs, but actively work to balance their home lives with donating time to serving their community and helping others. During their 15 or more years of service, they were called away during family meals or awoken in the middle of the night to respond to emergency calls and to help those in need. Such Life Members are an inspiration to current members and an aspiration to future members and to all residents of Watchung. They are your neighbors, your friends, your first responders, and they truly deserve recognition for their efforts. It is with great honor that we dedicate this year’s Tree of Lights to these eleven outstanding individuals.
Years ago, Judie McCumber came back from a vacation on Martha's Vineyard and told the Squad she saw a great idea that we could use as a fundraiser - a Tree of Lights where residents could place a light on the tree for a donation. She convinced then Captain, Shirley Cattabiani and Diddy Addario, President that it was worth pursuing. Never mind that there was no Village Green or no tree in the gravel parking lot by the lake. With Judie's persistence, Shirley's "can solve any problem" attitude and Diddy handling the town fathers for permission, a tree was brought it, set in a base and strung with lights. The annual Tree of Lights was born.
Based on Judie's suggestion, the "original tree three" created a winter festival and fundraiser for the Rescue Squad that has become ingrained as a Watchung tradition. The annual Tree of Lights ceremony originally took place every year on December 7th in honor of Pearl Harbor Day and in recognition of all those who lost their lives on that day and all the members of our armed forces who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. Over time out of necessity, it was moved to the first Saturday of December. For a donation your loved ones would be honored or remembered on the tree. Red and white lights were placed on the tree: red in honor and white in remembrance.
Through the years, many others have kept the Tree of Lights going through their dedication and support, and we thank everyone who has participated either through their contributions in organizing and setting up the event, attending the lighting ceremony or making a donation for helping keep the tradition alive!