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Texas

Central Texas man says Christmas tree near hospital gave him hope during battle with COVID-19, writes thank you note

ROBINSON, TexasKWTX)- A Central Texas man who was battling for his life with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit at Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest in Waco last January wrote a letter to the company to let them know lights were visible from his hospital on their big christmas tree. a window that gave him hope.

Robinson’s Don Grisham, 62, wrote a heartfelt letter to the Marine Boat Center a year after the battle to let them know that his annual 50-foot Christmas tree display, with over 2,300 Christmas lights, had helped save his life.

“One of the highlights of my stay in the hospital was that I looked forward every evening to seeing from my third floor window a large Christmas tree with your company’s flagpole,” the card says.

“It was truly the highlight of my day, short of an hour-long visit from my wife or one of my children. This simple Christmas tree gave me hope and something I looked forward to every day.”

In January 2022, Grisham was on 90 percent high flow oxygen due to bilateral pneumonia, unsure if he would survive. He was in the hospital from 7 to 15 January.

“I told the doctors that I didn’t want to be hooked up to a ventilator because I don’t know many people who had ever been hooked up,” Grisham recalls.

Grisham was not connected to a ventilator, but his condition was terrible. He said he relied on an extraordinary medical staff, as well as his family and friends.

But when the last member of the family left, he turned to the lights of the Christmas tree near the Marineland boat center.

“Christmas is my favorite time of the year and it has extended the season for me,” Grisham said. “Very often people start tearing things down after the first year. They continued this business.

Marineland owner Ken Soreli first installed the tree in 2018, he said, “to celebrate the birth of Jesus” and to serve as “a symbol of hope and inspiration.”

But Soreli could not imagine that the light would help save the life of a hospital patient.

Sorley, along with the employees of his enterprise, wrote a letter to Grisham, in which he told them how touched they were by his business card.

Specifically, it read: “We are truly and deeply touched to read about the impact our Christmas tree had on you while you were in the hospital. Your post even brought some of our staff to tears when they read that you think we have changed your life.”

The Marineland Boat Center Christmas Tree is still brightly lit as of Friday night, but will likely be torn down in the coming days.

Soreli is still battling the effects of long-term COVID, and although he has returned to work at the prison unit in Marlin where he teaches female inmates, he says many days of just standing or walking around the room can leave him out of breath.

He says that despite the difficulties, he is grateful to be alive and thankful for the light that finally brought him home.

“I am one of the lucky ones,” he said.

“I just wanted them to know that they have changed someone’s life and possibly more lives than they realize. I’m just grateful for what they’ve done.”

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