ETMC tree lighting kicks off holiday season

Released by ETMC:

TYLER, TX - East Texas Medical Center Tyler will celebrate its 23rd annual Christmas tree lighting on Tuesday, November 30, on the hospital's front lawn with Santa Claus and two of his real reindeer.

Faithful Praise of East Texas will perform Christmas carols. The tree-lighting ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. Santa and the reindeer will greet children from 5-7 p.m. If you would like to have a picture with Santa, please bring your own camera.

Logan Schaefer, the 15-year-old son of Texas A&M Women's Associate Head Basketball coach Vic Shaefer and Holly Schaefer, will light ETMC's Tree of Hope this year. Each light represents a symbol of hope for trauma patients and the "everyday miracles" that can take place in the medical environment.

This summer, Logan suffered a wake boarding accident on a lake and was transported to ETMC Crockett. Due to severe head trauma, he was flown by Air 1 to ETMC Tyler's Level I Trauma Center, where he was treated by a medical team that included Dr. Scott Norwood, trauma medical director; Dr. David Villarreal, trauma surgeon; and Dr. Tom Grahm, neurosurgeon.

"We are so pleased to have been a part of Logan's amazing journey. The fact that the trauma team was there for Logan played a vital role in saving his life," noted Elmer G. Ellis, president/CEO of the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System. "It's what ETMC is all about, and Logan is a remarkable young man who has made a strong recovery."

For the first time, the ETMC Christmas tree is a living tree – a Leyland Cypress planted earlier this year. It currently stands about 12 feet tall and is expected to grow three feet per year on average. "We had the desire to replace our cut holiday trees with a real tree that we can watch grow over the years," explained Ellis. "We are excited to have this cypress in recognition of tree conservation and as part of Mayor Barbara Bass's tree-planting initiative for Tyler."