The dream of Missy Ahrens, vice president of human resources for United Credit Union, became a reality Saturday with the lighting of a Christmas Tree on the credit union’s property. The tree was originally lit at the property of AP Green, a brick manufacturer in Mexico.

The tree has been dark for many years. Its last owners were Shamrock Proppants, which, through Frank O’Brien Jr., donated the tree to United Credit Union. Consolidated Electric Cooperative helped remove the tree from its prior location to the credit union. The 60-foot pole from which the roughly 6,900 lights hang was installed Nov. 2 at the credit union’s Mexico location.

“The tree means a lot to the Mexico community,” said Ahrens, adding she, her husband and family members also worked at AP Green over the years. “I just approached (Brent) Sadler, our CEO, and we started from there, and was able to get it donated.”

When moving locations, United Credit Union worked with the electric cooperative to make the tree more energy efficient. The strands of incandescent bulbs were removed and replaced with LED bulbs, which even though there are more than 6,000 bulbs, only costs about $1 per day to operate.

Sadler presented Ahrens with a special recognition Saturday for her work on getting the tree to the United Credit Union’s property. “We want to present her with a picture we came up with for our shirts and we have some of the original bulbs in here,” he said, presenting a shadow box to Ahrens.

The credit union also coordinated with the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce to sell original bulbs from the tree. Proceeds from the sales helped foster families throughout Mexico.

The Saturday tree lighting was an all afternoon event starting with a presentation by Miss Missouri Katelyn Lewis. Music acts Voices of the Future, The Burney Sisters and Grady Frazier followed. O’Brien and the electric cooperative also were recognized at the Saturday ceremony.