Tulsa Christmas Tree Helps Families Honor Loved Ones Lost To Violence

Tuesday, December 6th 2011, 10:18 pm
By: News On 6

Families who lost loved ones to violent crimes are making sure those victims are not forgotten. The Tulsa County DA's office held a tree-lighting ceremony in their honor Tuesday.

We found families at the ceremony for the first time and others who haven't missed it in years. The most wonderful time of the year is often the worst for these families.

"It's so difficult and the holidays are just, they are really, really hard," said Debbie Henry, murder victim's mother.

Everyone here has lost loved ones to violence. Debbie Henry's been to this ceremony for the past seven years. 

"We lost a child, so you think back to when they were little and opening their gifts and that kind of thing - and they're not here," Henry said.

She hangs her ornament for her son, Scott Bolton. He died after being punched and hitting his head on the pavement outside a Tulsa club in 2004.

For another family, this ceremony is a first.

"This is, I think, a wonderful way that we can show how much we love him and never forget him," said Vickie Loman, murder victim's mother.

Vickie Loman's son, David Jackson, was shot and killed in 2009. His case is unsolved.

"It's hard. You cry a lot and there's not much you can do. You just hope and pray that someday justice will be served," Loman said.

There are so many Tulsa County victims to remember, it takes four trees to handle all the ornaments. Each ornament tells a story.

Families talk with each other and make new connections, hoping it helps deal with old wounds.

"I didn't think I'd make it to tomorrow, each day and moment was so much pain and it still is, but now we learn how to live with it," Loman said.

The Trees of Honor will be on display at the Buddy LaFortune Community Center near 52nd and Hudson. Those ornaments are saved after the holidays for the next year's tree.