12 Days of Christmas Spirit
As people pass by the Christmas tree situated on the second floor of the Washington County Courthouse, employees hope people stop to think about those who are serving our country far away from home and their families over the holidays.
On Wednesday, Marcy Stout, clerk at the Washington County Treasurer’s office and real estate clerk Deb Simmering got together and put up the tree. Each decoration they added to the limbs contained the picture of someone either now serving in the military or a veteran. Simmering said the tradition started about five years ago when former assessor Lil Perry had the idea to honor veterans at Christmas time.
Julie Lindner-Reid, personnel clerk at the Washington County Auditor’s Office, can trace her family’s military history back through the Revolutionary War. Growing up, her father was a 33-year Marine and she lived on bases throughout the world. Her own military experience includes the Navy and the Air Force, where she was stationed in England and Italy.
“It was always a big thing in my family, so it is kind of like a little bit of home,” she said.
Simmering said that this is the first year she had helped put the tree up. She said that people are welcome to bring in their pictures of veterans to display on the tree.
“There were people who submitted photos to us and we are still trying to collect some more,” Simmering said. “I just got into the book that the Cuddebacks did and I would like to somehow get them incorporated into the tree.”
Right now, about 40 decorations honor people who have served in the military.
Stout said that with several pets who enjoy climbing, she is unable to have a tree at home, so she likes the big Christmas tree in the lobby.
“They are not with their families or with the people they love,” Stout said of the people serving who are honored on the tree. “They don’t get to do what their tradition would be while they are serving.”
The tree will be up for the month of December.
Anyone with a story they feel should be featured in the 12 Days of Christmas feature is encouraged to call the Washington Evening Journal newsroom at 653-2191.