Just in time for Christmas gift-giving and holiday decorating, St. Joseph's Home of Springfield has released its latest Springfield city ornament, which pays tribute to the Henson Robinson Zoo. "This year marks the 23rd ornament in the Springfield City ornament series," says Director of Development Terri Hempstead. "Who could have predicted that it would remain so popular for so long?"
Each year St. Joseph's Home chooses a landmark to highlight and an artist to create the ornament. "This year's ornament spotlights the zoo, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary," says Hempstead. "The ornament was designed by Lincoln Land Community College art professor Thom Whalen and it depicts three playful penguins."
Whalen has produced three previous ornaments for St. Joseph's Home and this year's ornament will likely be popular with both adults and children, Hempstead says. "This may be the most whimsical ornament yet, and really reaches out to children. The kids love watching the penguins at our zoo strut and preen and dive. Because these are African penguins, they are suited for warm weather like Springfield's summer weather; so they will be staying indoors for the winter."
Hempstead explains why the sales of the ornaments are so important to St. Joseph's Home. "Most years the ornament program is responsible for raising funds for some capital project — a renovation or construction project that could never be afforded through regular revenue like resident fees. This year, the ornament's proceeds will go to the home's biggest project of the decade: the dream of an activity center for the residents. The activity center will occupy the same land as the former Round Building which has been demolished and removed."
The 24-Karat gold-plated ornaments are now available for $23 at St. Joseph's Home, and for $25 at Henson Robinson Zoo, Heartland Credit Union (two locations), Pease's Candy (two locations), Bank of Springfield (four locations), HSHS St. John's Hospital gift shop, Wild Birds Unlimited, Old Capitol Goods and Pleasant Nursery. Ornaments can be purchased online at www.saintjosephshome.org for $29, which includes postage.
Ornaments come in a velvet-lined presentation box, stamped with the official seal of the City of Springfield. Each box contains a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity with a brief historical description of the city landmark.