Christmas Comes Early to Mt. Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) -- Christmas is coming a little early to one eastern Iowa town- in an effort to bring up the spirits of a member of their community.

Fall started only about a week ago, but in Mount Vernon, they're already getting ready for the winter season- not because they're looking to get extra gifts, but because they are looking to give a gift the size of their town.

Passing through Mount Vernon, people may notice between the Halloween decorations, Santa Claus is already visiting from the North Pole.

It is all through an effort called "Lights for Light," in honor of Mount Vernon area resident Marsha Light. She was diagnosed with cancer 12 years ago, and was recently told she may not make it to Christmas this year.

After the news spread, the town of Mount Vernon has rallied to put their lights up early, and turn them on early. Community members who have put up lights annually, are now doing it with an extra dose of Christmas cheer.

"As a kid I was doing it every year, it's extra special this year supporting the good cause this year and the local community," said Bryan Osborn, who has been putting up Christmas lights at his parents' home for years.

"A couple guys on the fire department were telling me about it down at a meeting," said Bub Studt, who is known around town for having one of, if not, the biggest Christmas display in Mount Vernon. "And I said well I can get involved with that. I usually start putting lights up around this time anyway."

"Anything that makes it more enjoyable for somebody else is good enough for me," Studt said.

Studt and his family plan to put up more than 4,000 lights this year, but they are far from the only ones around town showing their support. Even the City Administrator went to the Mount Vernon City Council for approval to put the city-owned Christmas wreaths and lights up around downtown. It was approved.

Seeing the community come together, did not surprise anyone that lives there.

"It's amazing," Studt said. "Usually if something happens, somebody's there to help you out. It's been like that since I was a kid and it'll be like that forever I think."

Setting up lights by day, to light up the night- and the spirits of their community member, and friend.

"Everybody's behind you, the community's supporting you," Osborn said. "And our thoughts are with you."

On Sunday, October 7 starting at 10 a.m., a city-wide celebration will begin in honor of Marsha Light,