Letter to the Editor: Generosity lights up the night

To the editor:
We appreciate the Jerry Kelly family of Clermont for their unique contribution to Holiday Lights 10th anniversary. The Kelly family, under the direction of Jerry Kelly, donated the fireworks display that welcomed visitors Saturday, November 29.  For those of us who watched from the Holiday Lights display at Decorah Campground, it was truly overwhelming and spectacular.
In our 10th year displaying Holiday Lights, we have reflected on why we put so much effort into bringing this event to northeast Iowa. The most obvious reason is the need to support our mission by raising funds that provide direct services to the families and children who seek our help. We have also wanted this event to be an extension of our mission by providing an opportunity for families to establish an annual tradition that is fun, healthy and fitting with the season.
Beyond this, Holiday Lights highlights the services we offer and why, and provides direct education about the local issues we address. For several years, for instance, activity books have been given to visitors by Santa that promoted our sponsors and linked  to an issue that impacts local children and adults that we serve.  This year we created decks of playing cards that Santa is giving each family. Each card asks a question or challenges the person playing to engage friends and family members in learning about health, family relationships and more.
We have been truly blessed by the support of the northeast Iowa communities through the attendance at Holiday Lights, through the sponsorships of many businesses, families like the Kellys, individuals, and the more than 250 volunteers it takes to bring this event to the public.

David Runyon,
Executive Director
Helping Services for Northeast Iowa