Community holiday event: Crowd comes out for Hands Helping Hands Thanksgiving Tree Lighting, Parade and Celebration

Published 6:38 pm Monday, November 19, 2018

District 2 of LaGrange got into the holiday spirit on Friday night with the first annual Hands Helping Hands Thanksgiving Tree Lighting, Parade and Celebration.

After the parade marched down Union Street, Eurie Kelley, Jake Sessions and the six LaGrange Fire Department firefighters who were injured earlier this year were honored for their service to the community.

“We were going to honor Mrs. Kelley and Mr. Sessions anyway, but when the fire fighters were hurt, we just thought, we’ve got to do that because they put their lives on the line coming over to District 2 to help us out,” Council Member Willie Edmondson said. “Even though it is their job, they went above and beyond the call of duty, so I thank them for that. It makes LaGrange feel like a whole LaGrange.”

Council Members LeGree McCamey, Nathan Gaskin, Edmondson and former Council Member Norma Tucker organized the parade and tree lighting with the help of members of the community.

“Tonight, I am thankful for the City of LaGrange. I am thankful for this community,” Mayor Jim Thornton said. “I am thankful for all of you coming together, and I am especially thankful tonight for our district 2 city council members. They came together. They organized this event and had a lot of help from Leon [Childs] and Dr. [Robert] Tucker and Lisa [Farrow].”

Kelley was recognized for her work in the community, including volunteering with local youth and decorating Union Street Park during the holidays. 

“I don’t know how many other young women are out here that Mrs. Kelley blessed,” Norma Tucker said. “… In 1984 when Act Team was started, I was one [of the children] that she practiced on way back in the day, so I think she did a good job with keeping us straight. Truly, she has been a blessing. Her entire family has been a blessing to our community.”

Likewise, Sessions was recognized for the impact that he has had on the community through his “Up All Night” dinners on Thanksgiving and Christmas for 28 years. This year, Sessions retired from the dinners, and Jimmy Edwards will continue the program at Cannon Street School.

City Manager Meg Kelsey offered her thanks to the fire fighters who were injured earlier in the year.

According to organizers, the most important part about the event was its ability to bring people together.

“It brings us in, and I think all of this shows how much people actually care,” Edmondson said. “What a wonderful season, in the Thanksgiving season for all of this to transpire.”