Retired Army veteran receives an early Christmas surprise

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EVANS, Ga. -Mario Calderon, who is a retired 20-year Army veteran, didn’t know that when he left his house, he would return to a home filled with Christmas decorations. It was a surprise that lit up his day.

“My wife said I need to get out of the house for basically the whole day, because somebody was going to clean the house. So, I came home with the kids and completely surprised that all of the lights were put up on the house,” says Mario Calderon, retired 20-year Veteran.

Usually Mario Calderon holds the tradition of decorating his family’s home with Christmas lights every Friday after thanksgiving.

But this year Calderon will get a helping hand. ‘Christmas Decor’ selects a veteran’s yard every year to bring Christmas spirit to.

It’s a surprise his wife Christina Calderon tried to keep a secret for weeks.

“It was very hard to keep it a secret. I was very worried about how to get him out of the house. So when he came home it would be surprised. So, I was looking forward to this. I was counting down the minutes to get off of work and get here,” says Christina Calderon, Mario’s wife.

The Christmas Decor team spent 4-hours setting up a fully decorated yard of roof lighting, outlined sidewalks, lights wrapped around trees, and reefs on the windows.

Calderon tells us it means a lot to him knowing a local organization takes the time to do this for veterans.

“It really says a lot about the people in this community that stand behind the veteran community in the Augusta area,” says Mario Calderon.

“It’s our small little way of giving back and saying thank you, because we really really appreciate what they do, and not just the soldiers themselves but their families and the sacrifice the go through,” says Kyle Flanagan, President of Christmas Decor.

And his wife tells us it means even more to his family that they can experience this together during the holidays.

“Every holiday that we get to spend together is precious. There’s a lot of people that don’t get to spend time together during holidays. That comes with the service,” says Christina Calderon.

Mario and Christina Calderon also tells us that they’re excited for their son to come home from Georgia Southern for the holidays, so he can see and enjoy the Christmas Decorations as well.

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