Community members create a new Giving Tree for Winters Healthcare

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It’s no secret that Winters takes care of its own. This community quality was highlighted when two of its members helped rebuild the Winters Healthcare Giving Tree. When the construction of the Winters Healthcare building was complete in 2019, the organization wanted to honor those who donated to the cause. Deriving inspiration from Winters’ agricultural roots, it was only appropriate the ode took the form of a “Giving Tree.” Every leaf of this tree would represent a donor and showcase the strength of the town’s communal roots to all who enter the healthcare facility. A New York company constructed the Giving Tree, but on its journey to the west coast in February 2020, the tree was damaged and unable to be mounted. “The original tree was a solid plate of wood from a company in New York. When it came, the bottom was bent, and the back was split and we couldn’t use it. The representative said they’d make us a new one, but then Covid hit,” said Lilly Steward, Winters Health Care Communications Coordinator. She went on to tell about the helpful intervention of Winters community members Gar House and Dan Williams. “Dan and Gar took it upon themselves to make the tree more reflective of the community, so they made it out of walnut trees from Winters.” English Walnut and Northern California Black Walnut to be exact. With expertise in woodworking and craftsmanship, House and Williams worked meticulously to create a new Giving Tree that reflected the selfless nature of the community its roots are planted. “They were so passionate about it, it became a community project and a bigger thing altogether because of the effort put into it. It’s a lot better than the original. They made it into a mosaic art piece,” Steward said. “It’s important in a small community to help your neighbor, and that’s what they did. They made it a true representation of Winters as a whole instead of just Winters Healthcare.” After spending most of 2020 working on the new Giving Tree, it was finished in February 2021 and put on display at the Winters Healthcare lobby in March. The Giving Tree, however, still has empty leaves. One can receive their own leaf and become a part of the Giving Tree with a $1,000 donation. Come Sept. 11, Winters Healthcare will be hosting their annual “Evening at the Bridge” event. This fundraising event will celebrate the subsiding of COVID and give attendees a chance to purchase a Giving Tree leaf. “This was genuinely a labor of love,” Steward said praising the efforts of House and Williams. “Their work showcases the value others have for the community.”

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