QUEENS, NY — It was a cold evening, made colder by the wind that wanted to join the occasion. But it was an evening to remember, forever, as the Richmond Hill-South Ozone Park (RGSOP) Lions Club gave Richmond Hill its first community Christmas Tree!
At the ceremonial lighting on the evening of December 5th 2019, despite the cold, a large number of Queens residents gathered at the RH Triangle located at 133rd Street & liberty Avenue, to support the event and to share in the historic moment. Yes, Santa was there, and happily distributed gifts and took pictures with the young, and the old who were happy to become kids again for 3 hours or so, and to soak up the excitement of the greatest holiday season of the year.
The Christmas Tree Lighting was a project conceived and executed by the RHSOP Lions Club, as part of its mission of service to the community. The cost of the project was borne entirely by the Club, helped by donations from its members. The goal was to bring the festive celebrations of Christmas to the vibrant Richmond Hill/Ozone Park community in a manner like never before, with a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree which will stand at the RH Triangle at 133rd Street and Liberty Avenue for one month.
Prior to the 6:30 pm lighting, the waiting crowd was treated to snacks of coffee, hot chocolate and pastries while listening to recorded Holiday music provided by DJ Tony, as the holiday atmosphere and expectations grew. Promptly at 6:20 the organizers welcomed the large crowd and invited Pastor Deodat Mangar of the Bethel Living Waters Assembly of NYC to lead prayers. Then it was time for the countdown in which all participated! As the Tree was lit the large appreciative crowd responded with ooohs and loud applause. Finally, Richmond Hill has a Christmas Tree for its residents.
Right on cue the 6 member strong choir from the Bethel Living Waters Assembly NYC, Inc. filled the air with a beautiful combination of voice and guitar strings in popular Xmas carols. The choir continues to sing for an hour or so, as everyone jostled to get pictures with Santa using the well lit Christmas Tree as the backdrop. Several organizations and prominent Queens residents turned up to show support and participate in the event, including the Jamaica Rotary Club, Councilman Donovan Richards, Vice President of the Indian Diaspora Council Mr. Santram Dukhbhanjan, who has been a Lion for more than 40 years, community activist Mr. Albert Baldeo and Community Board 9 President Kenichi Wilson.
The organizers wish to thank ranks of the 102 & 106 Pcts., DJ Tony, Pastor Deodat Mangar and the choir from the Bethel Living Waters Assembly NYC and the Management of 6 Stars Auto Sales for their help in making this another successful project of the RHSOP Lions & Leos Clubs.