Volunteers helped an Iowa man keep his family’s Christmas light tradition alive after he suffered two strokes and a heart attack battling coronavirus.
Iowa couple Dale and Julie Marks celebrate the Christmas season every year with a dazzling light display at their Beaverdale home and collect donations for the Food Bank of Iowa, according to KCCI.
Julie told CNN that last year, the couple raised 7,500 and collected 1,500 pounds of food.
Dale recently endured multiple strokes and a heart attack while fighting through coronavirus and spent nearly a month in the hospital.
“I laid in the hospital for 28 days not knowing if I was going to survive, and I knew, I knew, that I need to carry on if I at all could,” Dale told KCCI. “If at all possible, if I have a last breath there is something that God has for me to do to help others.”
“It’s a miracle that I am alive,” he said.
Dale realized he did not have the strength to set up his light display this holiday season and told Julie they needed to hire someone to put them up, per KCCI.
Contractor Bob Coffey heard of Dale’s situation through a mutual friend and decided to help his fellow Iowan, CNN reports. Coffey and four of his employees arrived at the residence on November 15 to put up the light display at no cost.
Dale watched longingly as the crew worked and made sure no light was out of place.
“You could just tell that he wanted to be there. So he would just say, ‘Hey, come here, I need this over here. I need this over here,’” Coffey told CNN. “He knew to a T where everything went.”
When he saw the final result after the four-hour effort he became emotional, KCCI reports.
“He thanked me, he cried a little bit, I got teary,” Coffey told CNN. “You could tell how much he appreciated it, and that’s what makes it worth it.”
Julie called Coffey’s volunteerism a “blessing.”
“He knows it’s a blessing, and this is the time of blessings and thankfulness so we are going forward and we’re going to raise as much money for the food bank as we can,” she told KCCI.
Rev. Franklin Graham shared Dale and Julie’s story on his Facebook page. Graham wrote:
There are so many individuals and families around us who, like Dale, have been severely impacted by Covid, some have even lost loved ones. Maybe you can step in and help with something needed or make a call to check on someone, pray for them, and encourage them. God can use you to make a difference.
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