In downtown Bettendorf, Gilda’s Club’s Blessing Tree tradition continues for the 25th year at Be the Light Park on State St. between 10th & 12th Streets. The tradition enables Quad Citizens to sponsor a light, bow, or ornament in memory of, in celebration of, or in gratitude for a special person in their life.
“Be the Light Park is a place dedicated to remembering and honoring the lives of Dale Owen and Paul Lensmeyer. Both were taken from us entirely too soon. Having the Blessing Tree shining brightly at the Be the Light Park really touches my heart because Dale would want to share his place of remembrance with others—” said Angela Owen, widow of former Ascentra Credit Union President and CEO, Dale Owen.
“We are so grateful for the support of Ascentra Credit Union, the Downtown Bettendorf Organization and the City of Bettendorf on our new location for the Blessing Tree. The tree found its home on River Drive (in Davenport) for over 20 years where it became a symbol of the holiday season and the hope it brought to many as we honor and remember those that have had an impact on our life, ” said Joy Bush, Executive Director of Gilda’s Club Quad Cities. “After closing our Clubhouse on River Drive in 2020 we wanted to find a new place for it to be at home. A place for families and friends to gather, remember and share memories during the holiday season. Finding its home at the Be The Light Park just seemed so fitting, knowing what it symbolizes and the impact that Paul and Dale both had on our community, we feel like it is where it is meant to be. We are honored to continue this 25-year tradition, one that we hope will withstand another 25 years of bringing light, joy and hope to our community.”
The 32-foot tree will be visible from both sides of the river and will allow the community to visit at any time. “I feel joy and a warm heart when sitting at the park, remembering Dale, and hope that others will come and experience that same comfort and joy when visiting the Blessing Tree, remembering their loved ones this season,” said Owen.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to have the Gilda’s Blessing Tree located within the Be the Light Park this holiday season,” said Linda Andry, President and CEO, Ascentra Credit Union. “It is incredibly heartwarming to see the collaboration between Ascentra, Gilda’s Club, the Downtown Bettendorf Organization and the City of Bettendorf to provide a place for members of our communities to remember loved ones, to bring hope to those fighting cancer and to share the message of Being a Light to all that visit the park or pass by.”
The public is invited for cocoa, cookies, victorian carolers, and conversation from 6-7 p.m. on December 5th at Be the Light Park. The names of loved ones will be read at 6:15 p.m. and the Blessing Tree will be illuminated at 6:30 p.m., and will remain lit through January 3rd. Parking is located along State Street, and additional parking is available at Adel Wholesalers. All the proceeds from The Blessing Tree benefit the no-cost programs at Gilda’s Club Quad Cities to support those in our community who are impacted with cancer.
Although Gilda’s Club QC provides support to those impacted by cancer, the blessing tree is for the entire community to honor and remember someone special in your life even if their life was not impacted by cancer. To learn more about contributing to the Blessing Tree or to purchase a light, bow or ornament, please visit gildasclubqc.org/blessing or call 563-326-7504. Those wishing to celebrate the life of someone special through the Blessing Tree can make their donation through January 3, 2023.