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Meridian Lights Back Up to Shine Hope

Mar 27

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Friday, March 27, 2020  RssIcon

Meridian Health Services is displaying a sign of community hope during this COVID-19 crisis. With the partnership of Jay Crew Landscaping and Indiana Michigan Power, Muncie’s tallest Christmas tree was lit again Monday night and will remain lit every night from dusk until dawn as a symbol of community hope and collaboration.

“We have hundreds of community superheroes on the front lines of this crisis,” said Hank Milius, president and CEO of Meridian. “Our hope is that this may help provide belief that there are brighter days ahead.  If it does, then we’ve helped make our community healthier. It’s a small but powerful symbol to remind us there is hope for a brighter future.”

The idea came as Meridian staff saw social media stories about Christmas lights in other communities. “When we noticed families in California were putting their lights back up, it seemed like the right thing to do,” said Scott Smalstig, vice president of development for Meridian, who oversees Meridian’s “Holidays at Gresham” drive through light display each year.

The idea may have been the easiest part, Smalstig explained.

“The real champions of this story are Jason Brooks of Jay Crew, and his people,” said Smalstig. “While Jason was adjusting his company’s new work reality, he was taking calls and texts from me.”

“It was an easy project to say yes to,” said Brooks.

This project would not have been possible at all were it not for Rob Keisling, community affairs manager for Indiana Michigan Power, who donated the sixty-five foot power pole back in December for Meridian’s Holidays at Gresham light exhibit.

“We’re thrilled that the donation of materials and time is benefiting the community multiple times this year. We’re proud it’s a bright spot yet again.”

During the holidays, the tree drew over 15,000 visitors, and now Meridian plans to light the tree each night for onlookers from White River Boulevard, and will use the tree to get messages delivered that will help flatten the curve of the spread of the virus.

“If the lights attract those looking for a bright spot in all of this, we hope this will bring the community together for public safety and health,” said Beth Clark, vice president of marketing at Meridian.  “Spreading good information, along with spreading hope, is what we are trying to do.”

There will be signage at each Meridian location that will be supportive of things to do to help diminish the spread of the coronavirus and options for appointments for physical distancing. 

“We want people to know Meridian is a source of trusted services and information in this critical time,” said Clark. Messages will include the fact that you can now have virtual visits with Meridian providers, how to protect yourself against Covid-19, how to stop its spread, and what to do if you do start to exhibit symptoms.

Clark pointed out that the more you communicate and share information, the better it keeps people informed, aware and positive. Meridian is directing people to call 1-866-306-2647 or go to their website, www.meridianhs.org for tools, resources and the most up-to-date information about COVID-19.

For more information on COVID-19 and how to stop its spread, visit www.meridianhs.org.


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