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Teen lights up nursing home residents' lives at Christmas

The holidays are a time for giving and this area is ripe with volunteers, but for one Johnson County High School sophomore the Christmas season is a time to spread cheer in an entirely different way. Ever since Mason Wilcox visited the Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation Center as a child, he began thinking of ways he might encourage the residents. Along the same time, Wilcox and his family began collecting outdoor Christmas decorations and as the collection grew, an idea began to take shape.
“I saw how much everyone enjoyed the decorations,” said Wilcox, “so I decided the nursing home residents would enjoy them too.” Since his mother is the marketing director at the facility, she quickly cleared the idea with management and now there are plenty of decorations for the residents, the staff and visitors to enjoy including a 20 foot snowman, a touching nativity scene and a light show.
“This is the second year I have decorated the nursing home for Christmas,” explained Wilcox, who spends about two weeks assembling the decorations and tweaking all the lights. “I really enjoy doing this for the residents,” he said. “They get real excited. They watch out their windows and if something isn’t working or gets blown over they come and tell me first thing for me to fix it.”
Mason’s parents are proud of his volunteerism. “He has liked decorating for Halloween and Christmas since he was little,” explained his mother. “Last year we thought we would decorate the nursing home so more people can see. The residents, staff and visitors loved it. And this year the residents were coming outside to look before we even got the boxes open to start.” The majority of the decorations were purchased by the teen and he takes great pride in positioning them so that the residents can see as much of them as possible. “Mason comes to the nursing home almost every day,” beamed his mother. “He talks to the residents and helps them when he can. Mason helps with activities and events we have. He is very good to the residents and they like him.”