Daytona Beach News-Journal (FL)
December 9, 2009
Cellie's yard to shine again Friends pitch in with money, manpower
Author: ANNE GEGGIS - STAFF WRITER
DAYTONA BEACH - Nova Road's landmark bright Christmas that was darkened by depressing times will soon be shining at full voltage once again - powered chiefly by one of the downturn's victims. After reading in The News-Journal that the new austerity had Tom Cellie deciding not to inflate his hundreds of inflatable Christmas characters and light up yards of illumination as he has for many years at Winston Park north of Beville Road, Harry Stiff found a new reason to hit the floor running.
The 47-year-old Daytona Beach man, who was laid off from his marketing job last March, has so far raised $1,000 to defray Cellie's $2,300 electric bill from the display and spent hours in Cellie's yard setting up the Yuletide carnival of light. "When you're not working, you feel insignificant," said Stiff, who had been working as vice president at an Internet television company until it was bought. "When I heard (why Cellie wasn't setting it up) I felt like it needed to be done and that it should be done especially in a down economy. "People want to be uplifted," he added. Stiff has been taking his daughter to see the blazing attraction since she was born. And the crowds that Edwin Peck Jr. has seen waiting in lines to see it through the years led him to offer Cellie manpower from his construction crew. "I would hate to see it just go out," said Peck, president of Peck and Associates Construction. "It's so inspiring."
Other help has come from Florida Power & Light offering to replace some of his lights with more energy-efficient ones. And Stiff, who had never met Cellie before, is trying to rustle up a gang of volunteers for a last push to the finish on Saturday.
Cellie is just amazed at the outpouring - especially Stiff's. "What a gift," he said. "I've never seen anyone like him in this town for 35 years."
Copyright, 2009, The News-Journal Corporation
Record Number: 410561321