East Tennessee Medical Group tree praises community service

It’s not always what’s under the tree…

East Tennessee Medical Group’s “charitable works tree theme” offers unusual and medically-themed ornaments representing ETMG’s 15 years serving their patients and the community as decorations on their tree. The tree will be part of the Hometown Christmas Festival of Trees.

The Festival of Trees lighting ceremony takes place during Christmas at the Courthouse at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Blount County Courthouse. ETMG’s tree is one of 36 trees that will be on the courthouse lawn for visitors to enjoy until Jan. 7, 2010.

With help from students at Alcoa Middle School, which is ETMG’s Adopt-A-School, ETMG’s 2009 themed tree displays a variety of both handmade and “bought” ornaments to symbolize nearly two decades of service to Blount County, both in and out of ETMG’s offices. On the “homemade side,” the middle school students are hand-painting pre-carved wooden candles made from tongue depressors, lettering in the names of many of the charities ETMG sponsors. Rocky Davis, ETMG director of maintenance and facilities, pre-cut the candles for the students, giving them suggested painting schemes but leaving room for their creativity.

Additionally, a team of ETMG employees chose fun or funny specific “bought” ornaments to represent many individual charities and service projects, including local and national fundraising events.

For example, ETMG employees “raised the roof” this summer on their very first Blount County Habitat for Humanity house. That milestone project is signified by items made into ornaments such as: colorful plastic toy keys, hammers, saws, wrenches, screwdrivers and drills. For garland, ETMG will wrap the tree with yellow “caution tape” symbolizing the new home construction for the Mark Roach family in the new Norwood Village subdivision in Maryville.

Visits to local assisted living centers are depicted with colorful ornaments made from bingo cards, chips and balls. Mini-soccer balls, basketballs and pom-poms represent annual spring sports physicals given to AMS students by ETMG volunteers.

A variety of baby items such as small baby shoes, pacifiers, baby bottles, dolls, and toy cars and trucks denote fundraising efforts by ETMG for organizations such as March of Dimes, Masonic Lodge and Operation Christmas Child.

Magnetic “support ribbons” depict ETMG’s participation in fundraising walks for foundations such as Relay for Life, Buddy Walk, Race for the Cure and the Arthritis Foundation. Other items on the tree signifying the various fundraising walks are shoelaces, mini-water bottles and sweat bands.

Curling ribbon used to wrap packages represents ETMG employees’ most recent community service with holiday gift wrap booths at Wal-Mart, which benefits the Blount County Children’s Home.

Familiar doctor’s office supplies also adorn the tree; gauze garlands, band-aids and cotton balls represent blood drives ETMG helped coordinate with Medic. Finally, a wooden birthday cake tree topper signifies ETMG’s 15 years in business. Davis also pre-cut and painted that piece for the physician practice.

Ron German, CEO of ETMG, said last year the physician practice did a “salute to the military” theme for its tree, but “this year we wanted to symbolize, in a meaningful but playful way, the countless hours and weeks that turned into years of service to Blount County. Our employees and the middle school kids have had a lot of fun with this.”

East Tennessee Medical Group is a 46-provider multi-specialty medical group in Alcoa, serving Blount County for over 15 years.

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