ETMC Tyler celebrates 30th annual Christmas tree lighting

November 29, 2017

East Texas Medical Center Tyler celebrated its 30th annual Christmas tree lighting Nov. 28.

This year’s tree lighting ambassador was Rocky Gill, president/CEO of Tyler’s Express Employment Professionals. Earlier this year, Gill was out for a daily walk when he started experiencing tightness in his chest. “Since 2004, I had been to the emergency department three other times with similar symptoms, but no problems with my heart were found,” said Gill. “This time I was out of breath as I climbed my steep driveway, and also had pain in my jaw. I was taken by ambulance to ETMC Tyler where I was told that I had a heart attack. I had six blockages. I had open heart surgery. I had no family history, and was told this was not common for my age, as I am only 58 years old.”

Gill says he’s very thankful for his cardiologist Dr. Robert Carney with Tyler Cardiovascular Consultants, and his cardiac surgeon Dr. Andrea Cooley with the ETMC Cardiovascular Institute. He has made lifestyle modifications and now walks 10,000 steps each day or five miles. He has lost 20 pounds, eats a more plant-based diet and has lowered his blood pressure.

The Express Employment Professionals Clydesdales were part of the festivities. This team of horses is the rare and beautiful black and white Clydesdales that stand around 18 to 19 hands high and weigh nearly a ton. The team travels across America for charities, and participates in some of the world’s most famous parades.

ETMC’s Christmas tree is a 28 foot tall Eastern Red Cedar tree, which is native to Texas. Performing holiday music at the tree lighting was The Brook Hill High School Choir.  Santa also greeted children and invited them to pose for photos and sit in his sleigh.

Click here to view a photo gallery from the event.

Click here to view a video of the opening remarks by Elmer Ellis, ETMC President/CEO and special guest Rocky Gill, ETMC cardiac patient.