A Nebraska town is remembering a beloved volunteer firefighter by continuing his longtime tradition of decorating his home with Christmas lights.
Raleigh Haas, 62, died of a heart attack back in August. When he passed, the citizens of the small town of McHook, Nebraska wondered if this was the end of his Christmas lights display. Last weekend however, his former brothers of the McHook Fire Department along with the Haas family decorated his two story, six bedroom home the Kansas City Star reported.
“Firefighters are a unique profession because we’re all family,” McCook Fire Chief Marc Harpham told the paper. “When we lose anyone it’s hard, but when you lose a member that’s been with us this long and has done this much for the community, it’s really hard.”
Each holiday season, the home was outlined with white lights, and dozens of strands comprising thousands of lights were placed in the trees and bushes in front. Minda Haas Kuhlmann, Raleigh’s daughter, said the display was done not in a Clark Griswold “Christmas Vacation” way, referring to the National Lampoon vacation film series.
“Without their help, we might have had to spend our first Christmas without him in a dark house,” Kuhlmann wrote on Facebook. “I get the feeling that not having them wouldn’t have just made my family sad, but it would have also been kind of a bummer for the people of our church.”
The Haas began the tradition 30 years ago the family said when his mother gave him extra boxes of Christmas lights she no longer needed.
“So he put the Christmas light around the door and the windows on the front, and they were white lights,” Kathy Haas said. “And every year it expanded and expanded and expanded.”
“Years ago, when my siblings and I were younger, we kept encouraging dad to add lights to more and more parts of the house, said Ryan Haas.
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