Every year, Utah’s Festival of Trees event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit Primary Children’s Medical Center.
This year, a family is paying tribute to four family members who were killed in a plane crash by decorating four trees for the festival.
In August 2011, a plane carrying a man, his wife and their two children crashed near Burley, Idaho. All four members of the Whittle family were killed and the cause of the crash remains a mystery.
They were on their way to Utah to visit Dow Webb and his family and to attend Education Week at Brigham Young University. At the time, Webb was employed as a Promotions Producer for FOX 13 News.
Later that year, Webb brought his family to the Festival of Trees. Webb’s daughter Emily asked where the trees for her cousins were.
Emily’s question turned into an idea.
“We decided, you know what? We might as well do a couple trees. And we couldn’t do just one. We had to do four of them. Each one has their own personality,” Webb said.
The four trees represent the Whittle family’s interests, including aviation, music and chocolate.
Many of Webb’s relatives came to participate with the family in this year’s festival. It was part of the healing process for his family.
“This is the first chance we’ve had to be together as a family since the funerals, since the memorial, so this is kind of like an uplifting thing to do instead of being all sad all the time,” Webb said.
The Festival of Trees starts Wednesday, November 28 and runs through Saturday, December 1 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.