By Antoinette Colon

Connection Staff

After traveling from Hellertown to the third annual Hope Takes Flight event at Sanatoga Park, 60 Monarch butterflies fluttered freely away.

The Pottstown Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) continued its tradition of honoring and remembering loved ones with the June 15 outdoor ceremony, which included live music, readings, light refreshments and the release of butterflies.

Two other VNA ceremonies were held simultaneously in Allentown and West Reading. The events sponsor was Inter-County Health Plans.

The butterflies, symbolizing the life cycle - particularly birth, transition, healing and renewal - are a fitting focus for the annual ceremony.

With a note card sent to those honored with the donation to the VNA and butterfly dedication, people release a butterfly to commemorate special occasions. Others use the inspirational occasion to remember a loved one lost.

Monarch butterflies are naturally attracted to smells and colors. For this reason, some hung around following the release before they roamed free.

After being contained inside folded pieces of paper, some of the butterflies needed time to warm up before taking flight.

With the gentle unfolding of the paper, the butterflies initiated their own flight.

While the butterflies traveled from Hellertown, they are natives, which will help them survuce locally.

Jessica Lara, daughter of VNA employee Julie Lara, sang two inspirational songs to open and close the ceremony. A senior at Daniel Boone High School, Lara has been training formally as a vocalist four years.

Hazel Atkins, one of the attendees, shared her story about her butterfly dedication.

"It is a difficult time. I released mine for my husband Robert Atkins, who passed away in April," she said. "We cremated and scattered his ashes around our home to set him free."

The donation of $25 helps support the nonprofit organization to continue to provide home health care for medically needy individuals and families in the community.

Some of the services provided include nursing care to premature newborns, much needed therapy for those recovering from a stroke, and hospice care to those with life-limiting illnesses like cancer.

For more information on the range of services provided by VNA call 610-327-5700.

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