November 7, 2018
By Meg Dickens
Every holiday patients and visitors at Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation Center (MCCRC) watch their surroundings blossom into intricate themed displays; the center’s Halloween and Christmas displays are reportedly the largest in Mountain City. 19-year-old Mason Wilcox donates his free time, work breaks and money to make this a reality. Wilcox estimates costs for this Halloween at around $4,000. He asks for nothing in return and refuses reimbursement.
Wilcox was inspired by his mother, Maxi Wilcox. Maxi is the Admissions and Marketing Director at MCCRC. She exposed Mason to the nursing home as a child, which led to his ease with the elderly. What started as brief interactions blossomed into something more. Mason now decorates the entire nursing home property, assists with events and helps seniors get around more easily. Their shared passion has helped mother and son grow closer.
Why does Wilcox do it? He loves seeing the seniors react. They love the displays and often ask when the decorations are going up. The seniors are also quick to report any decoration problem.
“It’s not work. It’s more about what they get out of it than what I get out of it,” said Wilcox. “It makes it (the cost) all worth it.”
Not only do the decorations provide a much-needed change in scenery, but they also draw community members of all ages to the nursing home. Trick-or-treaters are one example. Generations take photos together in front of the displays.
“The seniors take pride in it,” says Maxi Wilcox. “It helps them be prideful of their home, and it brings back memories.”
Wilcox’s desire to help does not stop at seniors. Wilcox loves animals. He recently got a bad case of poison ivy saving an injured kitten on a mountain. His home is filled with a huge variety of animals, and Wilcox often helps care for pet therapy animals at the nursing home.
Wilcox puts his all into his service and shows no sign of slowing down. His displays grow in size each year. Wilcox estimates that the annual Christmas display will be up by the second week of December. Make sure to stop by and take a look at the fruits of his labor.