It’s a ceremony to honor the people we love says Peninsula Community Health Services (PCHS)executive director Monica Adams and now in its fourth year is becoming a community tradition at the Cottonwood Medical center in Soldotna. “Love Lights is short for Love lights the way and the lights on our tree are sponsored to honor loved ones and is a way for us to gather and start the holiday season thinking about why we’re here and what we do as well as get donations to support some of our patient assistance programs we have available at PCHS,” said Adams.
With temperatures sinking well below zero about thirty folks turned out for the outdoor tree lighting ceremony then quickly made their way back into the lobby for warm cocoa and cookies and to hear a few brief remarks from local clients, officials and dignitaries. PCHS client Twyla Bentley thanked the community for supporting the Love Lights program which had personally benefited her in getting her life back on track and Margaret Parrot also a client said the Love Lights assistance had made her feel welcome and part of the community. “It’s wonderful to hear their personal stories of the experiences of our clients some of whom have faced real challenges and this program is here to help them and make their lives better,” said Adams. PCHS is a community health center providing medical, dental and behavioral health care on a sliding fee scale so that services are affordable for people with limited resources says Adams, “We also provide a lot of services like medication assistance, transportation and housing assistance,” she said.
U.S. Senator Mark Begich in a letter sent to Ms. Adams and read by his Kenai representative Kim Howard expressed his support of PCHS stated, “Through your dedication and strong community involvement, the Love Lights Patient Assistance program supports those dealing with difficult health needs such as medical, transportation and specialty care who don’t have the financial resources to face those challenges. For those of you sponsoring a light or lights to commemorate and honor a friend or loved one, a representation of your gift will shine throughout the winter months,” wrote Sen. Begich. In a letter read my Michelle Blackwell of U.S. Senator Murkowski’s Kenai office the Senator said she was sorry not be able to attend the ceremony personally and stated, “enjoy the spirit of the season and have a wonderful time tonight supporting your community health organization. Peninsula Community Health Services has a very distinguished and impressive history of providing accessible and affordable health care to Kenai Peninsula residents. Have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year!” wrote Sen. Murkowski. Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche was also on hand and complemented PCHS for there work in the community and establishing a Love Lights tradition where people can remember their loved ones while helping others return to health. Love Light donations will be accepted through the holidays, for more information call 260-7300 or go to www.pchsak.org.