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Nicholas Co. tree lighting honors flood & COVID victims, lost loved ones

Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST
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CARLISLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Nicholas County held its Christmas parade Saturday night, which was closely followed by a tree lighting to honor lost loved ones from the community, including victims of COVID and July’s devastating flood.

“We’re only here for a short time, we don’t know when our name is going to be drawn,” said Gladys Shrout, who co-chairs Nicholas County Tourism and helps organize the tree lighting. “If we can have a tree up there in our name…I think that is something wonderful.”

It’s only the third time Nicholas County has done this tree lighting. But for this small community, the event keeps getting bigger.

“The first year we had 80 trees, second year we had 191...and this year we had 246,” Shrout said.

After the parade, all of those names which the trees stood for were read off. Among the names was flood victim Debbie Ritchie, late Nicholas County baseball coach Travis Sims and Jeffery Howard’s father. Jeffery lost his father, Ralph, in January due to COVID.

“It’s really tough to stand here tonight knowing that this time last year my father was with me, as we honored our loved ones,” Howard said.

Organizer Gladys Shrout says 2021 was very challenging for this community, even more than the life-altering year which preceded it.

But Jeffery and Gladys both say tonight helps to heal the wounds opened up by all that the county has suffered through this year.

“This whole process is very healing to me, and to a lot of people in the community,” said Howard. “I think the trees have given those people with broken hearts a chance to do something,” said Shrout. “To say ‘Hey, I love you. I have a tree for you. Your light’s going to shine.”

Shrout pointed out that people who buy the trees in honor of their loved ones get to decorate them to their liking. Howard added some pictures of his family members, and some boat ornaments because of his father’s love for boating.

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