Light Display Fulfills Holiday Dream for 82-Year-Old Marion Man

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MARION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Many got together Tuesday night to celebrate the recent completion of work on a holiday light display at Summit Pointe Senior Living in Marion.

It's all for one man, Russell Schmidt, who dreamed up the display last year.

He struggles with health problems, needing dialysis three times a week.

Staff members at the facility said Russell wasn't sure if he'd still be here to see the big reveal this year. He's definitely around and couldn't be more thrilled to see this project come to life.

Russell is used to his routine with dinner at 4:30 p.m., but Tuesday night it was obvious that things were a bit different.

"With Christmas a couple days away what better of a night?” said Summit Pointe Life Enrichment Coordinator Pam Goodyear.

"Christmas was passed last year. I couldn't make Christmas come back, so I had to wait until next Christmas,” Schmidt said.

The 82-year-old said last Christmas his daughter, Rusty Holub, put lights in his window. He thought one display just wasn't enough.

"He said wouldn't that be awesome to light every window in this building, and I just took it from there. He had mentioned it several times. So I just thought, that’s something we could do for Dad. It wasn’t an outrageous dream,” Holub said.

Russell still has the first box of lights from his daughter. She said she purchased the rest of them on sale after last Christmas. From there, with the help of donations and volunteers, many worked to get lights up each one of the 363 windows on the building.

"When they turned the lights on, it was a dream come true. I loved it,” Schmidt said.

“It really touched my heart to see people and friends pull together for my dad,” Holub said.

Staff members at Summit Pointe couldn't wait to celebrate his dream come true with bus trips around the sparkling building. For a man who's always thinking of others and sharing hugs, Tuesday night was all about Russell.

"He's the type of guy who no matter how bad he's feeling or having a rough day he makes sure he opens the door for you,” Goodyear said.

Now, Russell gets to make it part of his routine to enjoy his holiday dream come true every day this holiday season.

"These are his lights and these are his pride and joy,” Goodyear said.

"I like them, I love them. To me it's been a lot of work for a lot of people and I want to appreciate it,” Schmidt said.

Summit Pointe staff members said they plan to put the lights up every year. They all light up through the use of timers in each unit and turn on at 4 p.m. and turn off at 10 p.m. each night.