Grand Island Lights Up
The mayor lights a tree every year, but this was special for many reasons. It was planted the same year deadly tornadoes ripped through Grand Island--1980. 'The 'Mayor's Christmas Tree' now stands tall and proud at City Hall.
That tornado destroyed the house of the man who donated the tree, Roger Lindly. He gave it in honor of his beloved late wife.
The couple planted the tree years ago after it destroyed their house in the tornadoes. After she died, he decided the tree should go to the city for everyone to appreciate, like his wife did.
"I told them I would really like to have it in memory of my wife Jeannette," Roger Lindly said.
The tree is glowing and decorations fill the branches, but hidden in there somewhere is a picture of Roger Lindly's wife.
"Over the years, we enjoyed this tree so much. We would watch the birds on it out the window," Lindly said.
Now, he wants Grand Island children to enjoy it.
"Children enjoy lights and the spirit," Lindly said. "I want it to have a lot of memory for people to remind them of Christmas and keep the spirit for everyone."
Many children did come out, for cookies, cider, and the Grand Island City Singers. They sang inside City Hall.
But most important to Lindly was his two daughters, grandchildren, and friend Tracey Dietz being there.
"I helped him with arrangements for the funeral," Dietz said. "Ever since, I've been friends with him. Roger's just a really great person. If he can make you happy he's happy."
Dietz said the donation wasn't a surprise at all.
"This is something he would just do," she said. "He wants to keep Jeanette's memory alive; this shows how much he loved her."
"It was my wife's favorite holiday and she just went all out at Christmas time," Lindly said.
The tree is lit all Christmas season long. You can see the Mayor's Christmas Tree at City Hall.