CHAMPLIN, Minn. (WCCO) — A Champlin man’s light display is back up thanks to help from people in the community.
Dozens of people helped Peter Brown’s thousands of lights shine bright after vandals tore part of the display down earlier this week. Brown’s home surveillance appears to show some grainy footage of people pulling up in a car and tying something to a clock tower display. The car then speeds away, tearing down part of the tower, which Brown worked to build for 40 hours.
Brown says the light display isn’t just for show — there is a greater goal behind the pretty lights.
“It started out small, and as five years progressed it got bigger,” Brown said.
Brown said he begins working to build light fixtures and string the lights in August. This year, Brown believes he has 2,630 lights in his yard. He says the vandals came by overnight on Wednesday.
“It hurt really bad,” Brown said.
The Champlin dad had a tough time explaining to his 8-year-old Ethan why anyone would do this. Word of the mean-spirited act spread across Champlin, and Brown says within hours neighbors and even local police officers showed up to help rebuild the tower, made of metal pipes.
“They rebuilt the tower in less than two hours,” he said.
Brown says he will focus on the kindness of those who helped him, not on who committed the crime.
“You tore the Christmas spirit out of some people, but other people brought it back who are stronger than you,” he said.
After many people offered to give him money for the work he put into the display, Brown says he decided to post an electronic sign in his yard asking people to donate to a nonprofit that helps foster children. He says he hopes to raise one penny per light, which would amount to about $2,000.00.
“I’m always a stickler about paying it forward,” Brown said.
The cause is near to Brown’s heart — he hopes to give his son Ethan a sibling through adoption next year.
“You have to believe in the Christmas spirit, you really do,” Brown said.
His light display is on 11308 Louisiana Ave. North in Champlin. The lights are on from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. through New Year’s. Tune in to 106.9 to hear the music that goes along with the light show.
So far, Brown says people have raised $600.00 for the group Fostering Families Inc. Brown doesn’t have a donation box at the house because he’s worried about thieves.
For information on how you can help Fostering Families click here.
Champlin Police are looking for the people who set Brown back about $200.00.