‘This was big’: Police, community, roll out the red carpet for seniors to experience Christmas
KOSCIUSKO, Miss. (WLBT) - A Hallmark movie comes to life in a Mississippi town with about 7,000 people.
No big movie cameras or celebrities are involved, but it features the biggest stars in Kosciusko.
The idea was simple.
Ashlee Crowson, the activities director at Atwood Personal Care Home, wanted to take 26 seniors to see Christmas lights on the town’s square Tuesday.
“Honestly, some of our residents have not been outside or done anything like this (other than doctor’s visits) since the pandemic began. So, this was big,” Crowson said.
She put in a few calls with the owner, Debra Atwood and Brittany McDaniel and they were overwhelmed by the response.
“By the end of the day, First Baptist Church offered to lend us their shuttle bus to transport the residents,” Ashlee said with a huge smile. “One of our local coffee shops, The Sip, donated hot chocolate ready to serve, and our local police officers were there and ready to assist.”
A scenic ride, warm drink, and helping hand are small gestures that headline this Christmas story.
“This was so nice. The lights were beautiful, and it was nice to just get out and about,” one resident named Janie Jackson said, who was reminded of her husband, who was a retired Biloxi policeman.
“Did you see the hat I had on?” another resident named Bill Mitchell laughed.
“It has been a good day,” June Stokes said.
It was also a good day for police, who had the opportunity to do more serving than protecting.
“I love giving back to the community,” Officer Austin Moore said.
“It really made my heart smile to see how happy it made them,” Officer Brandon Crowson added.
Affectionately known as ‘Kosy Lights,’ the city-wide effort to light up the town’s square is a volunteer effort that started several years ago. Everything from lineman bucket trucks and welding trees to countless lights and even carriage rides are donated so families can experience the joy of Christmas.
Many families and visitors were restricted from nursing homes throughout the pandemic to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I can only imagine how hard it’s been for our residents and their families during this pandemic. It really saddened my heart to see daughters and sons and grandbabies having to see their loved ones’ faces through a window, not being able to feel their touch or a simple hug,” Ashlee Crowson said. “So, to see somewhat of a normalcy return has been amazing.”
It’s a moment some seniors may never see again.
“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors,” Crowson said. “And to be able to give these sweet souls a beautiful Christmas memory, that could also be some of their last, was beautiful.”
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