East Texas Medical Center Tyler celebrated its 29th annual Christmas tree lighting on Nov. 29, at 5 p.m. with a new tree.
Six years ago, ETMC planted a Leyland Cypress to use as the hospital’s Christmas tree. Unfortunately, the tree blew over during a wind storm and had to be removed. ETMC then planted a 28 foot tall Eastern Red Cedar tree, which is native to Texas.
This year’s tree lighting ambassador is a patient from the new post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) program at the ETMC Behavioral Health Center (BHC). The program offers treatment to the combined population of community “warriors” – men and women who have put their lives on the line in service to others. This group includes active and veteran members of the military; those serving in law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical services; plus civilians who are survivors of a traumatic event.
PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a traumatic event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety.
“This time of the year can be extremely difficult for someone suffering from PTSD. BHC is pleased to shed light on this disorder and give people hope,“ said Dr. Daniel Williams, board-certified psychiatrist with ETMC BHC.
Norman Frazier, a paramedic with ETMC EMS in Collin County, will light this year’s Christmas tree. Frazier has served in emergency medical services for 35 years. He has four children, including a son in active duty with the Army, and four grandchildren.
“I love what I do,” said Frazier, regarding his role as a paramedic. “It’s amazing to be able to help people in their time of need, but it does come with a lot of hardships. As caregivers, we’re afraid to reach out for help.”
Through the PTSD program at ETMC BHC, Frazier has experienced life-changing care, allowing him to continue the profession he loves. He says to others: “We have to be willing to place our hand in the palm of those who can help – who can be the North Star through the various aspects of recovery.”
Holiday music at the tree lighting was performed by the Tyler Junior College choir. Santa and one of his reindeer greeted children on the front lawn of the hospital.