A Christmas tree memorial
"I just come up with somebody who was well-known and well-liked," explained Jim Puckett.
Each year, the Prineville resident spearheads an effort to build a tree for the Hospice Christmas Auction that honors the memory of a community member who recently passed.
"It has been done every year for 26 years," Puckett said of the annual recognition, adding that they have made a point of spotlighting the effort the past few years to honor the local individuals and businesses who have sponsored the tree.
This year, Puckett picked Ron Johnson, who for many years owned Hi Tech Electric in Prineville. Twenty-seven local sponsors pitched in to help fund and build the tree, although the primary design effort was taken on by Sandy Herrera.
Herrera found over the course of conversation with community members what Puckett already knew before he picked Johnson. The man was well known and well respected.
"The number one thing I got was he was a good, honest, likeable businessman who went above and beyond anything they needed," she said.
Herrera decided to incorporate the Christmas at the Cabin theme chosen for this year's Hospice Auction into her design and theme for the tree. She came up with "Owl be remembering you at Christmas," incorporating the use of owl — of course — as well as moose, an animal consistent with the Christmas at the Cabin theme.
"I thought the characters would be really cute," she said, adding that the whole tree and surrounding décor would resemble a snowscape.
The tree itself featured multiple ornament-sized owls and moose throughout, but that was only a portion of the overall display. Other larger moose could be found on downhill skis or in an old-fashioned rocking chair.
"I have a pump house and on each side is going to be half wine barrels," she continued, adding that Johnson's son, Justin, would breathe some life into the pump house portion of the display.
"He will have five gallon buckets underneath the half barrels and they are going to be circulating water," she said.
The tree was donated for auction in memory of Ron Johnson with Puckett planning to purchase it and give it to Ron's son, Justin, who now runs the business his father started back in 1969.
"Ron Johnson was well respected in our community as a great businessman of Hi Tech Electric," Herrera concluded, "and was admired as a good friend."