Tree of Angels ceremony honors victims of violent crime

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Dec. 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Updated Dec. 3, 2012 at 6:03 a.m.

The Christmas season is always a hard time for Mary Sue Woods.

After her son, Jeffrey Woods, was stabbed to death in April 1999, the holidays became a difficult time for Woods.

She decided to find a way to make sure people remembered her son and to give the families of other victims of violent crime a way to honor their loved ones during the Christmas season.

She created the Tree of Angels ceremony, an event where the family and friends of victims of violent crime gather to remember them. An angel is placed on the tree in honor of each victim and a candle is lit.

This year the 11th annual Tree of Angels ceremony will honor more than 150 victims of violent crime. It will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Bauer Community Center, 2300 state Highway 35 in Port Lavaca.

"The Christmas season is a difficult time for anybody that has lost a loved one to a violent crime. The Tree of Angels gives the families of the victims a place to honor their loved ones' memory during the holiday season," Woods said.

She and her husband, John Woods, start working in September to organize the event.

The feeling of being with people who understand this kind of loss creates a feeling that's hard to describe, Woods said.

The Tree of Angels gives families and friends a place to go to remember their loved ones during the holidays, Woods said.

"It gives them the opportunity to participate in the event by hanging an angel ornament on the tree and lighting a candle in memory of their loved one," she said. "It also gives the children an opportunity to make a positive memory of honoring a parent or sibling that they may not remember."



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