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(This article is part of Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Fall/Winter 2017 issue. An online version of the entire publication can be found at https://myvgh.org/thrive/)

Hard work and dedication have created a giving tradition spanning twenty-five years

The annual fundraising campaign known as the Tree of Lights is in its 25th year. The campaign that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars during the last quarter century began with the hard work of Ruth Mayhew.

Mike Riege, Virginia Gay Hospital Administrator, remembers Ruth fondly.

“Ruth was my Administrative Secretary until her retirement in 1999,” explains Mike. “She was a tireless worker filling the roles of secretary, Board Secretary, human resources duties, payroll clerk and benefits administrator. Granted we were a lot smaller then, but it was still a lot of work that three full-time people do now. It was Ruth’s idea to start the Tree of Lights back in 1992. She was very proud of her work at the hospital and her part in reopening of the Youngville Café at the intersection of the Lincoln Highway (now highway 30) and Highway 218.”

The photo of Ruth and her husband George was the last one taken of them together and was provided by her son Jim Mayhew. Jim says, “I still hear stories about my mom and dad from people I meet who worked with them or knew them personally.”

Since those early years, the Tree of Lights has been supported by thousands of donations and dozens of volunteers working on behalf of the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation. In 1992 the amount raised was $7,437. By 2011 the amount raised was nearly $90,000. The Tree of Lights campaign has provided vital equipment and funds to support every program in the Hospital, the Clinics, and Nursing and Rehab.

“We are excited to celebrate VGH Health Care Foundation Tree of Lights 25th Anniversary,” says Robin Martin, Director of the Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation (VGHHF), “continuing the legacy of Ruth Mayhew who envisioned the opportunity to commemorate loved ones and promote fellowship during the holiday season. La Teresa Music, our first Foundation Director, had a passion for the Tree of Lights annual campaign and for the mission of VGHHF. La Teresa Music was the face of VGHHF giving it solid ground, structure and the sustainability that we enjoy today. Mike Timmermans took Mrs. Music’s lead, he increased awareness, supported new construction and provided new charitable opportunities. The Tree of Lights Annual Campaign has been able to support and help sustain the needed equipment and improvements of Virginia Gay Hospital over the years.”

For online contributions to Virginia Gay Hospital Health Care Foundation’s Annual Tree of Lights Campaign or or any of the other community support programs, please visit www.myvghfoundation.org/donate-now