HANCOCK - Portage Health's Lights of Love program is a way for people to commemorate their loved ones and help provide funding for students in the health care industry, and a ceremony Wednesday at the hospital acknowledged the effort.
Lights of Love is a program of the Portage Hospital Auxiliary, and Barbara Worral, auxiliary president, said $40,000 was raised from sales this year at the hospital's Guilded Rose Gift Shop to fund five scholarships.
Worral said that much money was able to be raised because of relatively little overhead at the gift shop.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Jim Bogan, president and CEO of Portage Health, talks Wednesday during the Lights of Love ceremony at the hospital. The program, which is a function of the Portage Hospital Auxiliary, raised $40,000 this year for scholarships to go to five students studying for the health care industry.
"Everybody in the gift shop is a volunteer," she said.
Lights of Love began 20 years ago, Worral said.
People make donations to the program by buying lights on the hospital Christmas tree either in memory of a loved one or in honor of someone still living.
After Worral's introductions, Jim Bogan, Portage Health president and chief executive officer, said he appreciates the efforts of the auxiliary for helping local students seeking education in the health care industry.
"We're thrilled at the number of scholarships we can give out," he said.
One of the hospital's missions is a commitment to community service, and Bogan said the Lights of Love program fits that commitment well.
"I think that's what we do with these scholarships," he said.
Ronda Bogan, gift shop manager, said since 1998, $425,000 has been raised for scholarships through the Lights of Love program.
At the end of the ceremony, the names of those being commemorated and those being honored were read by auxiliary members Joanne Edwards, Nancy Fenton and Fayth Wolfe.
One of the people attending the ceremony was Angela Schwartz of Hancock, who said she was there because the name of her grandmother, Jean Kotila, was being read.
Schwartz said her grandmother died in October.
Although she donated to the Lights of Love in her grandmother's name this year, Schwartz said she will again next year.
Her grandmother was very active at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock, Schwartz said.
"There was a lot of people's lives she touched," she said.