Photos: 2017 Christmas Light Contest winners announced

The home of Dan and Ashley Harris shines bright at 118 E. 20th St. The home took first place in the 37th annual Sedalia Christmas Light Contest in 2017.

Giving back. It is what people do especially as Thanksgiving and the holiday season near. For one local businessman the season of giving started last year and continues today.

Luke Gieschen, owner of We Hang Lights, a holiday lighting company, received a phone call last year from a potential client seeking an estimate to decorate her home.

“I had no idea at the time that her husband was a disabled veteran, so I went and did the estimate the day before Veterans Day,” Gieschen said. “When I got there and met them they were absolutely the sweetest and most kind-hearted people I have ever met in my life. We got to talking and they explained their story and situation.”

Gieschen said the couple had always dreamed to have their house decorated with lights for the holidays but never owned their own home. The couple, Tony and Christine Bottom, simply felt they couldn’t afford the cost of decorating the outside of their house. 

“(I) hesitantly gave them their estimate and knew right away they couldn’t afford it,” Gieschen said. “So, I told them to call me if they changed their mind and that we would be in touch.”

The next day, Veterans Day 2017, Gieschen and his employees arrived at the couple’s home with everything the Bottoms had requested and more. 

“I knocked on the door, gave them a big hug and told them I was going to donate everything to them and would continue to do so every year,” Gieschen said. “They both broke down in tears of complete happiness and gratitude.”

Gieschen said he and the family have remained dear friends since his decision. He was at their home last week hanging lights for this year.

Gieschen, who also owns Integrity Softwash, a commercial exterior cleaning company, said his business has increased in volume since he began the company last year. He has been taking bids for his work throughout the year and projects We Hang Lights will quadruple its amount of business from last year.

That hasn’t stopped Gieschen from giving back. This spring, the business donated its services to Child Safe of Central Missouri in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April by stringing blue lights on the building. He is also going to provide lighting for a second veteran home this season by sponsoring an essay contest.

Individuals may submit an essay explaining why they feel a veteran is deserving of having their home decorated for the holidays. Nominations should be submitted to integritysoftwash@gmail.com. A winner will be announced Nov. 19.

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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