By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times
This year’s annual Dr. Herman C. Ensor “Lights of Love” event, to benefit Hospice of Cullman County, will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Col. Cullmann Room at Cullman Regional Medical Center.
Special holiday music will be provided and light refreshments will be served.
This is the 22nd anniversary of the event, which honors and remembers Cullman County citizens whose dedication and hard work have been an inspiration to those whose lives they have touched. It is also a way to honor family members and those of the community who have passed away.
The event is named in honor of the late Dr. Herman C. Ensor for his many contributions to the community and to Cullman Regional Medical Center. Dr. Ensor was a member of Cullman’s medical community and is fondly remembered by those who knew him as a caring and dedicated physician. Ensor was recruited to Cullman Hospital in 1975 and helped found the first Obstetrics and Gynecology practice in the area. He also helped to found the CRMC Foundation in 1977 and served as president of the CRMC Medical Staff and Chairman of the Board of Directors. In 1991, Dr. Ensor created the Lights of Love Tree Lighting Ceremony in order to honor and remember those lost during the year.
It is fitting that this special event is held at the holiday season — a time when hearts are filled with memories and the absence of loved ones is even more poignant. Lighting a symbolic candle in their memory is a way to honor their lives; it also raises funds to continue the mission of Hospice of Cullman County. Many of those being remembered were recipients of their care.
“The Lights of Love Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony holds special meaning for so many in our community who have lost family members and friends,” said CRMC’s marketing and public relations manager, Lindsey Dossey.
According to Dossey, this year’s event will honor Hospice physician and founding board member, William Peinhardt, and remember former CRMC Foundation board member and community pillar, Chester Freeman. Both men have been instrumental in shaping the future of CRMC, Hospice of Cullman County and the community.
Freeman was a beloved civic leader whose tireless efforts were widely recognized as making Cullman a better place to live, work and play. He was also Dr. William Peinhardt’s father-in-law. Both Dr. Ensor and Mr. Freeman were mentors to Dr. Peinhardt in many ways.
Perhaps one of the people most familiar with both men is Carolyn Freeman Peinhardt, daughter of Chester Freeman, and wife of Dr. William Peinhardt. “They were, and are, devoted to improving the quality of health care in our community,” she said. “I see my father as someone whose goal was always making our community better,” said Carolyn Peinhardt. “My father genuinely loved people — loved being around people. In general, he came back from World War II with a very positive attitude and a desire to help people.”
Even though Mr. Freeman’s fundraising efforts required much of his time, his daughter says that he was always there for his family. “Everyone knew him as a civic leader, but another side of him was that he was a great dad, he was always there for us,” said Carolyn Peinhardt.
Carolyn Peinhardt is fortunate to have had two such focused and caring men in her life. Her husband, Dr. William Peinhardt, is also very active in civic efforts, as well as the medical community of Cullman County. “Bill is so devoted to improving the quality of health care,” she said. “I see him as someone whose goal is making our community better for everyone. He really enjoys working with patients, and has a real heart for the elderly.”
Her mother, Hilda Freeman echoes her daughter’s sentiments. “I feel very blessed for Chester and Bill to be honored on the same night,” she said. “We always supported Lights of Love and appreciate the support it gives to Hospice of Cullman County.”
Dr. Peinhardt feels blessed to have worked with the staff at CRMC and others who care deeply for those in need, especially the elderly and their caregivers.
The following are three examples of what a day in Dr. Peinhardt’s life might entail as he and his nurse, LPN Martha Hart, make their rounds to the homebound.
At one stop he will visit with a middle-aged woman who cares for her elderly mother at home while sewing disposables in order to make ends meet.
At the next home he speaks with an 83-year-old mother who is taking care of a daughter who has decimated her mind and body with drugs. “She goes about her day, caring for her daughter just as she did when she was a baby,” he pointed out. “Just as if that’s what all 83-year-olds are doing.”
He will also see a man who cares for his wife 24/7, as she slowly succumbs to Alzheimers disease.
“These people are demonstrating God’s love as caregivers, and are doing a tremendous job,” said Dr. Peinhardt.
Dr. Peinhardt is proud to be a member of the staff of Hospice of Cullman County, “Hospice of Cullman County is special to me for lots of reasons.”
“Your gift of $20, $40, $60 or more will place a light on the tree as a tribute to someone special to you,” said Dossey. “Your tax-deductible gift will help support CRMC’s Hospice of Cullman County in its continuing effort to provide excellent end-of-life care to everyone in our community.”
Acknowledgement cards will be sent to those you have honored and to the families of those being remembered. “Please only one acknowledgement per contribution,” asks Dossey. “All contributors are invited to the tree lighting ceremony to view a presentation of the names of those being honored or memorialized. Donations may be contributed throughout the entire holiday season. Contributions can be made in memory or in honor of someone special in your life.”
Donate online at www.crmchospital.com/LightsofLove or call the Hospice of Cullman County Office at 256-739-5185 for more information.