Ascension St. Vincent Associates and various other members of the community gathered on Wednesday for an Earth Day Ceremony and the planting of three trees.
The group planted three flowering dogwoods, each with a special meaning.
A white flowering dogwood remembering those who lost their lives due to complications of the Coronavirus at Ascension St. Vincent and in the community.
A red one honoring clinical and support staff who have cared for those suffering from the pandemic.
A pink tree celebrating those who have worked to produce the vaccine, or have volunteered in vaccine clinics.
For associates at Ascension St. Vincent, the trees symbolize the people they’ve met and the journey they’ve experienced over the last year. “It’s very nice to come out and see actual physical representation of something; of all the work that’s been put in,” said Stephanie Lambert, RN.
Lambert is an RN at Ascension St. Vincent working on the COVID-19 unit. “It’s been a roller coaster ride. Some things were definitely very scary then some things made me a better nurse definitely,” Lambert told 44News.
For others, the trees carry a different sort of significance.
Heather Rieber, an associate at Ascension St. Vincent lost her husband to the Coronavirus in October. He was 39.
“I want people to remember who he was, not that he passed away from a pandemic. So, this is kind of doing that. It’s a way to honor him and remember him,” Rieber said.
Working on the Cardiology floor for the last 16 years, Rieber says she walks through the prayer Garden every day. Now, she’ll pass the tree honoring her husband.
Rieber said, “It’ll be a reminder of his life and what it stood for. What he did for myself and my family, and my daughter. [A reminder] that he’s still with us watching over us from heaven.”
The trees can be visited in the Daughters of Charity Prayer Garden at Ascension St. Vincent.