Tree of Angels ceremony honors victims of violent crime Saturday

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

The Tree of Angels will be displayed in Marble Falls City Hall again this year following a ceremony to be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. Each angel represents a friend or loved one who was a victim of violent crime.





By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The Tree of Angels commemorating victims of violent crime in the 33rd and 424th Judicial Districts will again be displayed at Marble Falls City Hall and the local ceremony, forgone last year, will return on Saturday, Dec. 2.

The ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. at the Marble Falls Church of Christ, 711 Broadway Street.

“We hope people who want to honor lost family and friends will attend,” said Cindy Westbrook who founded the local observance with Bill Bilbrey. “We will have escorts for those who wish to have one. There are 14 new angels to add to the tree this year, since the ceremony was not held last year.

“Cathy Dixon of Victims Services sent invitations, but names are not released except by permission after the ceremony.”

The concept of the Tree of Angels was launched in 1991 in Austin by Verna Lee, executive advisor of People Against Violent Crime. Events are held in December in Austin and local judicial districts to honor surviving victims of violent crime and victims' families by making it possible for loved ones to bring an Angel to place on a special Christmas tree.

The tradition was taken up for families and victims from Burnet, Llano, Blanco and San Saba Counties by Westbrook and Bilbrey. Last year she was recovering from a stroke and he was recovering from a serious auto accident.

Ceremonies for local victims have been held on the Llano County Courthouse grounds, Burnet High School and the Burnet and Marble Falls Churches of Christ. The tree had been displayed during the holiday season at various locations until it found a home with the City of Marble Falls.

Once it is again displayed there, Angel ornaments to commemorate a loved one may added to the tree during weekday office hours at Marble Falls City Hall by anyone who was unable to attend the ceremony Dec. 2.

“We hope families will be able to join in,” said Westbrook. “The holidays can be especially hard, with memories of those lost. The Angle Tree is one way to honor the memories, but our thoughts and prayers are always with those families.”

For more information, contact Dixon, 512-756-7609, or Westbrook, 325-388-4720.

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