Luminarias to honor Madeline McTier

by Celia Shortt


The streets of SummerGrove on a past Christmas Eve lighted by the Lights for Linda Luminarias.    

In what has become a Christmas tradition in Coweta County, residents of the SummerGrove neighborhood in Newnan will be setting local streets aglow with luminarias.

“It allows us to do a few great things at once — make SummerGrove beautiful, raise money, and have a greater sense of community,” said Lights for Linda Luminarias founder Nancy Sanker.

Sanker started this project with friends to honor her sister, Linda McGrenaghan, who died after fighting leukemia for 19 years. All proceeds from the luminarias go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Currently, more than $6000 has been donated to LLS through the project.

This year, Lights for Linda is dedicating its luminarias to Madeline McTier. McTier was a 17-year-old East Coweta High School student who passed away in September from complications of a brain tumor. She lived in the neighborhood where Lights for Linda began.

“It’s an honor that they would even think of us,” said Madeline’s mother, Jennifer McTier. “SummerGrove is a large community. Even though it is a big community, it is close-knit. So many people have done so many wonderful things”

Jennifer McTier had purchased luminarias for the cause in the past, but has not as involved as she is now. This year, she plans to help with the entire process — from distributing luminarias to assisting in organizing the overall effort.

“Christmas will be hard,” she said. “It will be nice to see the luminarias on Christmas Eve. It will be good to focus on that instead of the bad. I’m looking forward to helping.”

This is the first year in which the luminarias will be honoring a specific person.

“We felt compelled to do it because I can’t imagine losing a child,” said Sanker. “You can join us as we remember Madeline, encourage others who are in the midst of their health challenges and salute their caregivers.”

Luminarias kits can be purchased at Kits are available for a suggested tax-deductible donation of $20 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Each kit includes eight luminary bags, eight long-burning candles, sand, and instructions.

The kits will be available for pickup on Saturday, Dec 7 from 9 a.m. to noon at the SummerGrove Town Hall. They can also be picked up at 55 Lake Shore Drive on Dec. 9 from 3 to 7 p.m.

SummerGrove residents are invited to become “Lighthouses” helping to spread the luminarias’ glow by placing professionally printed signs in their yards. Signs will be delivered during the week after Nov. 22 and picked up on Dec. 7.

For more information on purchasing luminarias and how to become a “Lighthouse,” email or call 770-344-8046.

Follow the progress by visiting or “liking” the organization on Facebook. 

As a way of saying thanks, Lights for Linda Luminarias will include the purchaser’s name and the name(s) of the person each is honoring in a future SummerGrove newsletter.

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