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Veteran’s family receives Christmas wish for holiday lights

NORTH AUGUSTA — It was a Christmas wish come true for Felicia Redding.

“We’ve never had outdoor lights,” said Redding, a first-grade teacher at Merriwether Elementary School. “My husband can’t do them because he’s a disabled veteran.”

Matt Redding served in both the Army and the Air Force and was deployed to Afghanistan. Medically retired from the military, he has post-traumatic stress disorder as well as multiple sclerosis. The couple has an 11-year-old son, William, who has autism.

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But this year — thanks to the Decorated Family Program and Christmas Décor of Augusta — the Reddings have lights along their roofline and in their shrubs as well as lighted wreaths.

Crews from Christmas Décor of Augusta decorated the home on Dec. 7.

Christmas Decor of Augusta provided lights for the family of a disabled veteran through the Decorated Family program. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Felicia’s mom, Faye West, nominated her daughter’s family for the Decorated Family Program.

“She’s always wanted lights,” said West, whose husband is also a disabled veteran. She learned about the program through a spouse support group she’s part of.

Matt Redding didn’t want to be interviewed, but Felicia Redding said “he was excited because we were excited.”

While William said he liked all the lights, he especially liked the lighted wreaths.

Felicia Redding had kept it as a surprise for him.

The Decorated Family Program started in 2003.

“Each holiday, hundreds of Christmas Décor franchisees nationwide participate in this program by donating their products, resources and time to decorate the homes of local military families as part of the Decorated Family Program,” according to a news release.

William and Felicia Redding sit on their porch. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Kyle and Lynn Flanagan are the owners of Christmas Décor of Augusta as well as Lawn Ace.

Christmas Décor of Augusta keeps the Lawn Ace crews busy during a time of year when other outdoor work tends to lull, Kyle Flanagan said. Lawn Ace is a lawn chemical application business.

Most of their Christmas Décor clientele are corporate accounts such as area banks, hospitals and even the airport. It’s rare for them to decorate a home.

“It’s a blessing for us to be able to do something for a family,” said Lynn Flanagan who also brought sprigs of lavender to share with the Reddings at the light reveal at dusk Wednesday.

 And Kyle Flanagan said it’s a welcome change of pace from decorating the commercial properties.

“We love it,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite things that we do.”

 The Flanagans have owned Christmas Décor of Augusta for about eight years and like being able to give back to military families.

“It’s a really fun way to say ‘thank you,’” he said.

 Nominations for the program go through the corporate office and then are funneled to the local level.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at Subscribe to the newsletter here.