Neighbors help disabled man continue Christmas lights tradition
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
often stories that serve as examples of the Christmas spirit and how it seems
to bring out the best in people during the holidays, which is certainly the
case in a Baton Rouge neighborhood that has rallied behind a man and his
The home of
Jim and Pat Waites in the Westminster-Pine Park subdivision is a place where
tragedy has been overcome by light. Powerful bulbs illuminate their yard for young
and old to enjoy every night during the holiday season. However, it all came to
a crashing halt a year ago when Jim was injured taking down the lights and
confined to a wheelchair.
to the ultra-positive mindset from the man they call Mr. Christmas and the
never-ending support of his family and neighbors, the tradition continues. The
extension cords are plugged in and the lights still shine bright on Park Ridge
Drive just like they have during the holidays for years.
"It's been very
overwhelming to be honest," Jim Waites said.
time to survey the display in his front yard and the smile is back on his face,
now that he can once again share his passion with others.
you feel good that God is letting you do something that pleases other people,"
from one of his sons and a co-worker, Jim's lights are back where they belong
for all to enjoy, but with a new addition. A basket is in place to collect the
countless well wishes and prayers that are received daily from neighbors and
friends. Pat Waites, Jim's caregiver and wife of 54 years, read just a few of
those Wednesday night.
hope you feel better soon," she read from one note.
Jim, we all hope you get better soon. We've all been praying for you," she read
from a card.
thought something so simple as a strand of lights could make people happy," Pat
‘Ditty' Waites said.
to Pat, it's an outpouring of support that has helped more than most will ever
I feel like I go to sleep and I'm so tired I don't have time to pray and
everybody responds, ‘Pat, it's because there are so many prayers out there for
you," she explained.
neighbors like Karen Gautreau, it's Jim who continues to help others. She added
it's his positive outlook on life, despite the accident, that has inspired so
Jim, look at his courage, look at his hope, look at what he gives and people
are like that all over the neighborhood," Gautreau said.
realize how many hearts you touch by the things you do and when something like
this happens, you find it out more," Jim stated.