A potentially serious incident was narrowly avoided at the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Foundation’s annual Christmas Tree Village event on December 9, thanks to the swift action of community members. The event, which traditionally features a display of beautifully decorated Christmas trees for auction, was interrupted by an unexpected malfunction of a sprinkler system.
Tera Moorehead, the Director of the RRH Foundation, recounted the event with a sense of pride in her community. The Christmas Tree Village, organized annually by the Women in Philanthropy, showcases trees adorned by various hospital departments and local groups. These trees, festooned with ornaments and surrounded by presents, are auctioned off to raise funds for charitable causes. This year, the focus was on supporting Senior Wellness programs.
The day’s festivities began at 9 a.m., attracting over a hundred attendees who enjoyed the display, indulged in hand-crafted hot beverages, and had their photos professionally taken. However, around midday, an unusual noise from the ceiling heralded the imminent activation of the sprinkler system. Quick-thinking volunteers and staff promptly evacuated the building and managed to disconnect the Christmas trees before water flooded the area.
Despite the unexpected deluge, Moorehead was moved by the immediate and unasked-for help from the community. People spontaneously assisted in salvaging the display, relocating tables, rescuing parts of the exhibit, and preserving the integrity of the auction process. Remarkably, within an hour, the entire setup was re-established outdoors.
Moorehead expressed heartfelt gratitude for the community’s resilience and spirit, emphasizing how the crisis brought out the best in everyone involved. She also noted that the event had successfully raised over $11,000 so far, with donations still being accepted online through the Foundation’s website. Participants can contribute to the Senior Wellness program by clicking the “Donate Now” button and selecting the specific cause.
In a follow-up to the incident, it was discovered that a single faulty sprinkler head was to blame. While it caused a temporary inconvenience, thankfully, no significant damage occurred. Moorehead’s closing remarks highlighted the community’s generosity and creativity, which make events like the Christmas Tree Village possible and successful.