The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 8, 2012

Fourth annual Wonderland of Trees is just around the corner

United Way column

By Richard Jarrell
guest columnist

BECKLEY — While it might be the beginning of October, it’s not too early for us to start talking about what last year became the single largest fundraising event for the United Way of Southern West Virginia. And that event is the fourth annual Wonderland of Trees! And as of today we are only 25 days away from cutting the ribbon, turning on the lights and opening the doors for hundreds and hundreds of people to come in and see the creative creations.

Exciting new location

First I want to say Thank You to our gracious host for the last three years, Kathy Housh and the Crossroads Mall. The good news for Crossroads Mall is that they have completely leased the mall and there isn’t a place to host us this year. The great news for the Wonderland of Trees is that the fine folks at Lewis Automotive have invited us to bring this wonderful event to their Suzuki showroom. This showroom is expansive and will easily facilitate all the trees as well as have room for the actual tree auction which will take place on Friday, Nov. 16. Another benefit to this new location is that there will be plenty of free and available parking right in front of the showroom.

What will the event look like?

Once again this year we will display 50 unique trees custom-decorated by local businesses, schools, clubs, churches and organizations. Additionally, we will have beautifully decorated wreaths that will be auctioned off by silent auction the actual night of the live auction.

Speaking of the auction, we want everyone to put that Friday night on their calendar now because our lead Auctioneer Scott Hill ensures you will be entertained more than any auction you’ve ever attended.

How to get involved

Getting involved is as easy as calling the United Way office at 304-253-2111. Your tree will only cost you $125; then you will decorate it as you want prior to the opening. Once the display is open, the public will flow in daily to view and vote for the trees they want to vote for as the “People’s Choice.”

If you would like to get involved, we still have a few trees available, but you need to call and reserve your tree today to guarantee you will be in this year’s display.

In closing, thousands of people over the last three years have seen what a great event this is not only because it kicks off the holiday season, not only because people walk home with beautiful trees to display in their homes, businesses or donate to local needy organizations. No, the real winner is the 32 agencies that the United Way serves over our five counties (Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Wyoming and Nicholas), and without the dollars raised we cannot fulfill needs and at the end of the day that is what the United Way is about — Filling Needs. And for that reason I encourage you to Live and Give United!

— United Way of Southern West Virginia 2012-2013 Campaign chair Richard Jarrell owns the two Chick-fil-A franchises in Beckley and is a member of the Raleigh County Board of Education.