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Staunton: Gypsy Hill Park commemorated in Christmas tree ornament

Courtesy of the GFWC Staunton Augusta Junior Women’s Club.

A Christmas tree ornament of Gypsy Hill Park’s new front gate entrance recognizes the 50th anniversary of Staunton Parks & Recreation Department.

“Every year, we try to find something to do [an ornament] of Staunton or Augusta County,” said Jenny Hinegardner, president of the General Federated Women’s Club (GFWC) Staunton Augusta Junior Women’s Club.

The local club was founded in 1993 from a national organization that began in 1820. Hinegardner said the organization is one of the oldest, largest nonpartisan women’s international and national groups. Clubs are also in Ukraine and Aruba.

The Gypsy Hill Park ornament is available online, but also in person at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 1716 N. Augusta Street, Staunton, from 5 to 7 p.m. today, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 10. The ornament will still be available while supplies last after Saturday.

Hinegardner said that a committee of club members chose what this year’s ornament would represent, and asked the city of Staunton for their blessing. Designed in Virginia, ornaments are made in Delaware. All proceeds go to scholarships to benefit two high school senior girls who plan to attend college.

“We were thinking about something beautiful and we love the [park’s] new entrance,” Hinegardner said. The club has 13 members, and Vice President Tara Roberts works closely with the committee each year on the Christmas tree ornament.

The club partners with New Directions, the Valley Mission, the Verona food pantry, Operation Smile, The MaDee Project, St. Jude’s and other local organizations to volunteer and help those in need.

“We do as much as we can,” Hinegardner said.

The club especially focuses on helping women and children in Staunton and Augusta County, and aid them in domestic violence situations. They create convenience packages for women and children living in local shelters, and discreet packages of feminine care products for local high school girls.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hinegardner said, the club continued to find ways to help the local community. State chapters gave local clubs funding to get through the pandemic.

“It’s probably one of the most beautiful we’ve done,” Hinegardner said of the Gypsy Hill Park ornament.

The ornament is for sale for $25 each in person and online. To receive notifications of new ornament releases, subscribe to the club’s website.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.