Toronto lights up, raises $1,750 for Salvation Army

TORONTO – Inclement weather might have greeted those who attended the city’s Light-Up Night Tuesday in the First Presbyterian Church, but the event still was a success, raising $1,750 for the city unit of the Salvation Army’s Home Heating Assistance Program.

The chamber sold more than 320 luminaria to help those less fortunate this winter season. The ceremony began with a welcome by Thomas Graham, Jefferson County commissioner.

“It’s certainly a pleasure to be here,” said Graham. “We really appreciate the great people who (organize this event).”

Bill Lucas, chamber president, also thanked those involved in the annual project.

“I want to give thanks to the people who have done this,” Lucas said, adding chamber members Karen Mellott and Amanda Coburn created the luminaria. “I’ve lived here 24 years, and one thing I’ve learned is that Toronto is a city of traditions, and this is one of the best traditions.

“The Toronto Beautification Committee needs to be thanked,” continued Lucas. “I also want to thank Mayor John Geddis and the First Presbyterian Church. Special thanks needs to be made to the two funeral homes. They need to be recognized for all the work they do in the community.”

Ryann Ensell, 8, daughter of Amanda Spry and Robert Ensell, lit the Christmas trees at the church and the gazebo commons before Graham sang “O Holy Night.”

Jay Foster and Don Clarke then read the names of those honored, while family members came to the front of the church to collect the luminaria. Clarke said the remaining luminaria would be available at Foster’s and Clarke’s funeral homes.

“As I listened to those names I was amazed and saddened how many of those people I knew,” said Lucas.

Rich Coburn sang “‘Til the Season Comes ‘Round Again” before Doris Starr and Anna Lea Wirth, unit co-directors, were presented with the check. Graham then sang “Silent Night” before the Rev. Mike Bongart, gave the invocation.

“From the Christian perspective, light is very important,” said Bongart before quoting scripture concerning “the true light.”

“The Salvation Army always appreciates Light-Up Night,” said Starr.

“And the community,” added Wirth.