In a spirit similar to that of The Salvation Army Bell Ringers, a local family has made a tradition of sharing the sights and sounds of the holiday season while paying it forward to an organization geared at bringing hope and healing to the suffering.
While the vision created by Stephenville-native Billy Chew may not be the traditional red kettle manned by a jolly volunteer jingling a bell and collecting change for the needy, his effort is a testament to the true meaning of the season.
“We, my wife Elaine and I, do this for ourselves and for all of the children and the whole community to enjoy,” Chew said.
But it is not just about enjoyment. In fact, the display, which has lit the sky above the Chew home for the last five years, is also an annual fundraising campaign for Relay for Life.
Although it may not be the red kettle, there is a bucket in front of the home, located at the corner of Groesbeck Street and South 6th Avenue, where locals are invited to pitch in their spare change. In the first four years alone, more than $2,000 was delivered to the local campaign to deliver funds to the American Cancer Society.
The Chew residence offers passersby a dazzling Christmas light display. Chew said his home is illuminated by 12,000 flashing lights.
The homeowners invite viewers to pull into a neighboring lot and tune their radios to 96.5 FM, a transmitter station owned by Chew. Dialing in the station brings the whole scene to life, as the constantly flashing display is perfectly timed to classic holiday carols.
For the fifth consecutive year, the holly jolly spirit is once again shining on the community. Viewers can delight in the sights and sounds each year beginning at Thanksgiving into the New Year - the display closes Saturday, Jan. 2. Everyone is invited to witness the show nightly from 6-9 p.m.
See video online at www.empiretribune.com.