By The Scotts Valley Advocates 

The Scotts Valley Community Christmas Tree lit up on Nov. 27, continuing a tradition dating 30 years. The Scotts Valley Park Advocates felt strongly about the importance of supporting the installation of the tree lighting for the community given the tough year of 2020 with Covid-19 and the CZU Lightning complex fires. In complete agreement with them was the late Chris Ow, manager of the Kings Village Shopping Center where the tree is located. 

The Advocates heard the news in early November of Ow’s sudden passing and were very saddened. The Community Tree was set to be decorated just three days after Chris’ passing. The Advocates decided to honor him by dedicating this year’s lighting of the tree in his memory. According to Kristin Ard, Recreation Division Manager, “we regrouped immediately and made a quick decision.” Two days later, the tree was topped with a bright red star, Chris’ favorite color.

Joe Nedney, President of the Advocates, said of the Ow’s, “They donate the electricity to light the tree every year, without asking for a refund or reimbursement. That’s who they are as a family. We have such a level of respect for Chris and the Ow family, how much they’ve silently helped out. This is the least we could do, and we wanted to make sure it really honored his family name. We want everyone who drives by that tree, to see the red star, understand, and know that it’s dedicated to Chris.”

Ard added, “We go to the Ow family with anything and there’s no questions asked. They’ve never told us ‘No.’ It’s always ‘How can we get it done?’ There’s no doubt about it, that Chris would do anything for us.” 

In previous years, Scotts Valley Firefighters would deliver Santa and Mrs. Clause to the Community Center, the Scotts Valley Police Department would host a toy drive for Valley Churches United, and the evening would be full of photos, dancing and sweet treats provided by local service organizations. Due to Covid-19 concerns, these festivities were canceled. 

Several Scotts Valley organizations have previously hosted the tree lighting, including the Host Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce. The Lions originally planted the tree in the late ‘80s, in the memory of a Charter Member’s passing, Al Cacace. Lisa Bustichi, a Host Lions Club member and Advocates Secretary, recalled, “the Ow family was awesome and allowed the Lions Club to plant the tree there to honor our passed member.” 

We truly hope everyone who drives by the tree remembers this is a tribute to a pillar of our community, Chris Ow.

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