Even though it's May, a local family is in the Christmas spririt.
Every Christmas since 2008, the year Twinsburg police officer Joshua Miktarian was shot and killed following a traffic stop, Scott Larsen and his family have decorated their Silverdale Circle home with thousands of holiday lights and displays.
All to raise money for the Joshua Miktarian Scholarship fund. The holiday display has become a staple in the community.
Larsen presented a check to Twinsburg Police Chief Chris Noga — something the family does each year.
The scholarship, started soon after Miktarian's death, awards $2,500 to two students — one from and another from Tallmadge High School — who plan to enter into law the enforcement field.
“It’s a magical and wonderful experience during the holiday season to see the work they do to light their house up," Noga said. "And the work they do to raise money for the Miktarian scholarship is amazing."
When the Larsens started their Christmas display, members of the community would constantly offer them a little money for all their work.
“They’d say, ‘Can we give you something?’” Larsen said. “We said no, this was our gift to the community."
But it was Larsen’s wife, Diane, who came up with the idea to accept money, using it to honor Joshua Miktarian’s life and memory.
They started using their amazing display to promote Project Blue Light, an organization that honors fallen officers. This past Christmas they handed out 564 blue lights to guests to honor Miktarian and other fallen officers.
In 2011 the Larsens collected $3,756 for the Miktarian scholarship.
“It is our pleasure to be able to honor him and collect these donations,” Larsen said.
“It takes a lot to sustain a scholarship and we’re grateful for all the assistance and especially the Larsen family for and what they’ve done fore the Miktarian scholarship and the community,” Noga said.
Putting together such a light show is no small task.
For the 2011 display the family started work in June, logging over 11,000 man hours, Larsen said. That comes out to 45 days worth of work.
With all that work, it has to be a family affair. Andrew, the only son, is the props and setup guy. Madison, the youngest daughter, is the “Extension Cord Queen,” keeping a mile-and-a-half of extension cords in order.
The oldest daughter, Morgan, is the programmer. She oversees 196 channels of computer animation. Larsen said it takes about ten hours just to coordinate the lights for one song.
This past Christmas they had 50,000 lights, 85 amps of peak power and even a mini-radio station that “operates within the guidelines of the FCC,” Larsen said. Not to mention an electric bill Larsen doesn't want to admit to.
If the family hopes to improve upon their efforts each year, they have to get going even earlier.
“We’re already working on the display for this year,” Larsen said.
Even as fantastic as the lights and sounds they put together for the holidays are, it's not about having the best display in town for the Larsens. They want to make make every Christmas a little brighter (literally and figuratively) for the community.
“It’s been a wonderful experience for my family and for my children to learn what giving back is,” Larsen said.