Madison City Hall site of Hero Tree for veterans
Madison City Hall is one of several locations for the third annual Hero Tree veterans project this year hosted by Heart of Hospice of Jackson.
Hero Trees allow people in the community to grant Christmas wishes to 200 veterans and adults living in senior residential care throughout the metro area.
“Madison City Hall is proud to host the Heart of Hospice Hero Tree this season,” said Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler. “This is a wonderful way to spread Christmas joy to our veterans and seniors. I encourage everyone to stop by City Hall to pick a flag off of the tree to fulfill holiday wishes for those who have sacrificed for each of us.”
Along with Madison City Hall at 1004 Madison Ave., Club 4 Fitness, 1022 Highway 51 in Madison; and Shucker’s, 146 Conestoga Road in Ridgeland are the other Hero Tree locations in Madison County.
Amanda Houck, a senior administrator for Heart of Hospice in Jackson, said the Angel Tree Christmas program put on by the Salvation Army each year inspired the Hero Tree program.
“We felt there was a need to serve those who served us,” Houck said. “Those people being our homeless veterans. Like the Angel Tree program, which collects toys and other items for children in need, the Hero Tree collects personal care items such as shampoo, conditioner or stamps for homeless veterans in need.”
Houck said each Hero Tree is covered in flags, with each flag serving as a veteran’s wish. Someone can take a flag and purchase a personal care item. She said once all of the items are collected, they are then delivered to the locations where each veteran’s wish came from, such as the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Jackson, or nursing homes such as The Woodlands, The Home Place, Plain View Assisted Living, Forest Hill and The Bluffs.
“We served 208 veterans last year, and we’re aiming to serve around 220 this year,” Houck said. “Anyone can come to get one of the flags from a sponsored location, or they can help out by dropping off cleaning supplies, gloves or any other personal care item at any of our sponsored locations without taking a flag.”
Houck said that in addition to the Madison County locations Heart of Hospice has sponsored Hero Tree locations at the Rankin County Chamber of Commerce in Brandon and the VFW office in Hinds County.
“We had to borrow flags from other trees to bring to them to Shucker’s since they kept running out,” Houck said. “The feedback on this has been great, and a lot of people have reached out to us on social media. As of right now, Madison City Hall has reported that they’ve already run out of flags.”
Houck said the most important part of the Hero Tree project is thinking of the homeless veteran community and other places that need help, especially in times like these.
“With Veteran’s Day being in November, we roll this out in the first week of the month to highlight it around Veteran’s Day so the wishes can be delivered to the veterans during the Christmas season,” she said.
To contribute to the Hero Tree project, visit Madison City Hall or any of the other locations to take a flag from the tree and return the flag with gifts to the location by Dec. 3 for Heart of Hospice to distribute by Christmas. The tree is available in City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, contact Heart of Hospice at 769-208-4462.