(LaPorte, IN) - A popular La Porte Christmas display has been brought back to life, thanks to a firefighter and some holiday teamwork.
In the 1980s La Porte resident Dick Ford began building a Christmas display that grew every year. A decade later, Ford’s creation took up two front yards on Webber St. across from Clarke Park.
Mr. Ford, also known as "Mr. Christmas," passed away in 2010. The display had been packed away a few years earlier and wasn’t seen again-- until a few weeks ago.
La Porte firefighter Josh Myers located most of the display and reassembled it. It includes five lit display cases with animated figures, two train sets in an enclosed building, and a church the size of a shed with a magical holiday scene inside.
The display’s current owner, Paul Richey of PR’s Landscaping, has kept the items in storage over the years. Myers got the idea of setting it up next to the new eastside fire station. "Last year, when I was decorating the station," he said, "I looked out at this yard, and I was like, this would be perfect for that display; I wonder if Paul still has it? So I called him, and he was all on board with it."
According to Myers, Mr. Richey bought the items years ago, hoping to display them every year, but those hopes never materialized. "I definitely want to thank him and his team at PR's for allowing me the opportunity to do this," Myers said. He also credits Action Towing, who helped transport the larger display pieces, and La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder, for allowing the display to live on next to the fire station.
Once it was all set up, Myers shared the unveiling with the Ford family. "When we turned the lights on," he said, "I actually had the Ford family, Dick's widow Sandy and his son Brian, actually got to flip the switch for the first time in fifteen years."
The display can be seen at the corner of Lawrence and North Streets. Myers says anyone who would like to donate decorations for the display is welcome to do so.