Children and residents gathered on Saturday evening in the Heights section of Jim Thorpe for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Sam Miller Field on North Avenue.
Prior to the ceremony, in a heartwarming gesture of neighborhood unity, a minute of silence was observed for neighborhood residents Sharon Joseph and Larry Darrohn who unfortunately lost their lives in a tragic house fire nearby early Friday morning.
Also remembered was Corrine Miller who was seriously injured in yet another tragic house fire nearby just two days before that.
The tree lighting ceremony and a visit by Santa Claus who distributed toys to the youngsters was sponsored by the Jim Thorpe Community Athletic Association which maintains the Sam Miller Field.
Committee members who helped organize the event were : Kyle Sheckler, Shawn Sheckler, Jerome Sheckler, Jason Sheckler, Leroy Strohl, James Galagher, Bill Highland, Mike Luckenbill, Lori Galagher, and Randy Reese.
They sold raffle tickets to raise the money to purchase gifts for distribution to the first eighty children that came to the tree lighting.
There were also candy canes, cookies, and hot chocolate for everyone.
The Committee members expressed their gratitude to those who helped make the tree lighting and Santa's visit possible.
Among them were: the Mauch Chunk 5&10 for helping them out with the gifts; the Hometown Walmart for donating the candy canes; Mauch Chunk Lake Park which provided them with a stage; the Borough of Jim Thorpe for helping with the setup of the tree; and Carbon County Commissioner Charles Getz who purchased the tree for them.