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Barbourville’s official Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 6, began in the district courtroom of the courthouse. UNITE chair Claudia Greenwood welcomed everyone to the annual celebration, after which Bro. Leonard Lester, Pastor of First Advent Christian Church of Barbourville, gave an opening prayer.
The Community Choir, which included members of the First Baptist Church of Artemus, Scalf Chapel Pentecostal Church, Turkey Creek Baptist Church, Springfield Baptist Church and Locust Grove Baptist Church entertained everyone with songs of the season. The choir was under the direction of Eryleen Hammons with pianist Teresa Doan, and was organized by Quetha Boles.
Mikeala Rhodes, a junior at Barbourville City School and member of Locust Grove Baptist Church, read the Christmas story from Luke.
This year’s Christmas Tree was from the home of Mossie and the late Virgil Mills of Flat Lick. It was chosen as their family tree in the late 70’s or early 80’s when their children (daughters, Vergie Mills and Tina Sowders) were still at home. After Christmas, the family planted the tre.
Today, Vergie Mills has one son, Jathan Patterson. Tina Sowders is married to Jay Sowders of Artemus, and has two sons, Jed and Devon Sowders.
When Knox County UNITE Chair Charley Dixon first began to look for a perfect Christmas tree seven or eight years ago, he and his wife Marcia saw this particular tree. They wanted the tree to be used as the county Christmas tree. However, Mossie Mills was not ready at that time to part with the tree. Years passed and the tree continued to grow and Mills struggled with having it cut.
This year, however, she agreed to donate the tree. How fitting, as this tree was chosen by Charley Dixon. Dixon cannot be her to enjoy the Christmas festivities, but he is still remembered for his role in procuring the town’s Christmas trees, especially this one.
The tree was lit in honor of Mossie Mills and her family and in memory of Charley Dixon by Mossie Mills’ grandson, Jathan Patterson.
The tree lighting ceremony was sponsored by Knox County UNITE.