18th annual Tree of Angels ceremony pays tribute to those lost to violent crimes

The ceremony included a candlelight vigil and allowed everyone to place an angel on the Angel Tree

CALHOUN COUNTY, Texas – The Tree of Angels ceremony was held at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds and pays tribute to those who passed away from a violent crime.

The holidays can be a difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. While it’s a great time to gather and enjoy each other’s company, it can feel like a void for some who aren’t able to spend this holiday season without their loved ones. That’s where the Tree of Angels hopes to alleviate some of that pain or at the very least allow families and friends who have lost a loved one to pay homage to those that they’ve lost. Mary Sue Wood helps with the Tree of Angels and says that it can help those dealing with a loss of a loved one.

“It’s so hard during the Christmas season if you’ve lost somebody. So with the Tree of Angels, everybody here has lost a loved one. It’s just great to be around other people that have the same thoughts and have been through the same thing you’ve been through,” says Sue Wood.

The Tree of Angels was started in 1991 out of Austin and honors victims of violent crimes. The People Against Violet Crime, or PAVC, estimate that every 3 and half minutes a violent crime occurs in Texas. PAVC assists those affected by violent crimes by offering resources for victims such as crisis intervention and personal advocacy. Click here to learn more about PAVC.

Mary Sue Wood lost her son due to a violent crime which motivated her to bring the Tree of Angels program to the Crossroads.

“It helps to come because you can’t really do anything, you know if you’ve lost someone, for a loved one, I mean you can go put flowers out at the cemetery. But here you can come you can light a candle, normally, and put pictures out and remember them,” says Sue Wood.

Ty Wood has been coming every year to the Tree of Angels to honor his brother and he says the event can help those who have lost a loved one get through the holiday season.

“I guess like they’re not the only ones who have lost somebody. It makes them feel like they have somebody they can go to, something to look forward to. Get them through the holidays it helps, because they’re surrounded by people who have gone through the same thing,” says Wood.

The Tree of Angels event allowed everyone to write the name of their loved one on a little paper angel and then place it on the Angel Tree as well as a candlelight vigil.

Jacob Amezquita has been coming since 2014 to remember his mother who he lost when he was six years old.

“To lose her at such a young age like that I didn’t have anybody. And for a while, I was just super, super depressed, and angry about the situation I was in but stuff like this helps me realize it’s not just me. There’s more that’s going through it than just me. It comforts me, it helps me feel normal,” says Amezquita

First responders were in attendance as well, with officers from Victoria and Calhoun county and sheriffs were in attendance to stand in solidarity with the families who all lost someone due to a violent crime.