Community, Big Rapids Hospital

Big Rapids Hospital Tree Lighting Ceremony December 2

Retiring physician Dr. Thomas Wright chosen as honorary tree lighter for final event.

BIG RAPIDS, Mich., November 15, 2019 – After 22 years of kicking off the holiday season, the final Tree Lighting Ceremony at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, December 2. A couple of ghosts from Tree Lightings past will also appear, as former Big Rapids Hospital presidents Mary Kay VanDriel and Sam Daugherty will be present to see the huge evergreen tree light up for a final time.

Longtime and soon to be retired Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital physician Thomas Wright, DO, will be honored as the ceremonial tree lighter.

Current Big Rapids Hospital President Andrea Leslie will emcee the event, and along with VanDriel and Daugherty, will present Big Rapids City officials the tree lighting plunger to use in future tree lighting events in the city. The tree, at the corner of Oak Street and Winter Avenue, isn’t healthy, so hospital officials have made the decision to make this year’s ceremony the finale.

“We’re going to go out in style and have a great event,” said communications manager Sarah Dieterman. “Having the past presidents involved is a special touch, and everyone always enjoys singing Christmas carols as we watch the tree light up for the season.”

The entire community is invited to enjoy the festive and family-friendly atmosphere that will include a visit from Santa, horse-drawn sleigh rides and holiday carols led by Big Rapids Middle School choir students. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided, and those who attend will receive a special keepsake ornament.

The event will also be an opportunity for community members to thank Dr. Wright for his years of service to the area before he retires February 16.

“We are so pleased to honor Dr. Wright at this year’s ceremony,” Leslie said. “He’s made such a positive impact on so many patients in the Big Rapids community. We invite all his patients to come out and congratulate him on his impending retirement.”

About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,300 medical staff experts, 3,700 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 155 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $585 million in community benefit in fiscal year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.


John Norton
Corporate Communications Manager
Office: 231.592.4387
Mobile: 231.580.1079