A 25-year-old holiday tradition has a new home in Bettendorf.

The Blessing Tree is moving to Be the Light Park, on State Street between 10th and 12th Streets in Bettendorf. The Blessing Tree is a tradition where people can sponsor a light, bow or ornament in memory of, in celebration of or in gratitude for a special person in their lives.

The public is welcome to enjoy cocoa, cookies, Victorian carolers and conversation on December 5 from 6 – 7 p.m. at Be the Light Park. There will be a reading of loved ones’ names at 6:15 p.m. The Blessing Tree will be lit at 6:30 p.m. and stay on through January 3rd.

Parking is available along State Street, as well as at Adel Wholesalers. All the proceeds from The Blessing Tree benefit the free programs at Gilda’s Club Quad Cities that support community members who are impacted by cancer.

“Be the Light Park is a place dedicated to remembering and honoring the lives of Dale Owen and Paul Lensmeyer. Both were taken from us entirely too soon. Having the Blessing Tree shining brightly at the Be the Light Park really touches my heart because Dale would want to share his place of remembrance with others,” said Angela Owen, Dale Owen’s widow.

“We are so grateful for the support of Ascentra Credit Union, the Downtown Bettendorf Organization and the City of Bettendorf on our new location for the Blessing Tree,” said Joy Bush, Executive Director of Gilda’s Club Quad Cities. “The tree found its home on River Drive in Davenport for over 20 years where it became a symbol of the holiday season and the hope it brought to many as we honor and remember those that have had an impact on our life.”

“After closing our Clubhouse on River Drive in 2020, we wanted to find a new place for it to be at home,” Bush continued. “A place for families and friends to gather, remember and share memories during the holiday season. Finding its home at the Be the Light Park just seemed so fitting, knowing what it symbolizes and the impact that Paul and Dale both had on our community, we feel like it is where it is meant to be. We are honored to continue this 25-year tradition, one that we hope will withstand another 25+ years of bringing light, joy and hope to our community.”

To learn more about contributing to the Blessing Tree or how to buy a light, bow or ornament, click here or call (563) 326-7504. Donations may be made through January 3.

Residents on both sides of the river will be able to see the 32-foot tree and the public can visit at any time to honor, remember and celebrate. “I feel joy and a warm heart when sitting at the park, remembering Dale, and hope that others will come and experience that same comfort and joy when visiting the Blessing Tree, remembering their loved ones this season,” said Owen.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to have the Gilda’s Blessing Tree located within the Be the Light Park this holiday season,” said Linda Andry, president and CEO of Ascentra Credit Union. “It is incredibly heartwarming to see the collaboration between Ascentra, Gilda’s Club, the Downtown Bettendorf Organization and the City of Bettendorf to provide a place for members of our communities to remember loved ones, to bring hope to those fighting cancer and to share the message of Being a Light to all that visit the park or pass by.”

For more information, call Gilda’s Club at (563) 326-7504 or email lexi@gildasclubqc.org.