WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s a special tradition, and tugs on the heartstrings of Hospice of Wichita Falls volunteer Lance Lucas.

“It’s personal for me,” Lucas said.

For almost 10 years, Lucas has volunteered his time to help set up the tree on top of the Southwest building for Hospice’s annual Tree of Lights fundraiser.

It’s a calling he said he’s felt since Hospice took care of his wife, who spent 16 days in their care before passing away.

“It was important to me,” Lucas said. “They did me a huge favor because coming here was finally a relief. I actually got to breathe for a second and realize that everything was not going to be okay, but it was going to be as okay as it could be.”

Lucas joined a panel of others who shared stories of how Hospice has impacted them at the Tree of Lights luncheon.

“I always tell all the guys who volunteer, ‘This year, when you look up and as you’re driving down Kemp Street and you see that Christmas tree up there, you’re going to feel something completely different.’ I can’t explain it. I went through it myself and I always ask them to give me that phone call whenever [they] have that moment.”

Hospice Communication Specialist Savannah Morales said volunteers are the backbone of Hospice.

“It humbles us. We’re appreciative of their partnership and their friendship,” Morales said. “We have a place for everyone. Our volunteers range in skills and volunteer opportunities across the departments.”

With Tree of Lights, volunteers are even more important for the non-profit.

Lucas reflected on the impact Hospice made on him and said he knows his work is personal.

“I pray that you don’t, but if you ever have to be here, you’ll see why. It’s just that special. We’ve dealt with hospice in other areas of the country, and ours is special,” Lucas said.

Serving hospice to help others in a time of grieving.

The tree lighting will take place on Tuesday, November 21.

Click here to learn more about donating or signing up to volunteer with Hospice.