Man gets unexpected help to keep Christmas lights tradition: “Afternoon for a lifetime”

Amy Christie

Dale Marks used to set up an impressive Christmas light display every year. And the colors surrounding his house in Des Moines did so much more than make every passerby smile.

His lights display raises money for the Food Bank of Iowa as part of an ongoing tradition in the neighborhood. This year, Marks felt too weak to work on setting up all the lights.

When he thought the tradition was gone, a kind stranger came to help, and he brought a whole team of volunteers so the lights would still achieve their purpose for happiness and charity.

What are the details?

For decades people got used to coming by the Marks’ house to marvel at the Christmas lights that turned December into an amazing month for all the Beaverdale community, according to Sunnyskyz.

And the display is about so much more than a lights show. The Marks have bins at the end of the driveway and ask people to donate money or food for the Food Bank of Iowa as they go by their house.

“We made over 28,000 meals in cash for the food bank last year, and that’s just an amazing feat,” Dale Marks said for KCCI.

Unfortunately, this year the task of setting up all the lights proved to be a terrible challenge for Dale. He has suffered a heart attack and two strokes, as the outlet points out.

When he was ready to give up on preparing the usual display for his neighbors, Dale got help and kindness to go with it.

Bob Coffey, the owner of a construction company in the area, heard about the Marks’ story and how important the tradition of the lights was, so he didn’t think twice about offering to help. Coffey had never met Marks, but he felt inspired by the initiative.

He brought several volunteers with him, and they installed thousands of lights to bring back the holiday cheer and encourage people to keep giving.

Everyone was smiling while working on the display with over 10,000 lights. In the end, they all laughed when Coffey finally plugged two cords together and lit everything up.

“Memories of that afternoon are for a lifetime,” Coffey said.

Dale and Julie Marks watched them work from the porch and felt touched by the kindness they received.

“When we got done, I just told him to have a great night and to take care of himself. And he cried, and I cried. It was awesome,” Coffey concluded about the unique experience that kept Christmas just as bright and merry as it should be for everyone.

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX
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