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Company decorates North Bellmore home after family's loss
A North Bellmore family was finding it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit in this season -- until it received an unexpected gift from a local company.
Jessica Viola-Wyllins, 36, of North Bellmore, said she and her husband, Frank Wyllins, 35, didn’t feel like celebrating Christmas this year, even though it would be their 6-month-old daughter Daniella’s first. They were still mourning the loss of Frank’s mother, Lucille Wyllins, 67, of Seaford, who died on Nov. 25 after battling cancer.
The holiday traditions the couple once enjoyed, including decorating their home, now felt like “chores,” Viola-Wyllins said, and they were planning to skip them.
But Frank’s brother, Ray Arnold, had another plan.
Although also grieving, Arnold, 48, of Ronkonkoma, remembered what his mother had told him 25 years ago, when his grandmother, her mother, died a few days before Christmas. Arnold was 23, but his brother was only 10.
“My mother said, ‘We have to put up the tree. Your brother’s a child and he has to experience Christmas,’” Arnold said. “That’s how I felt about his baby.”
So Arnold contacted Looks Great Services of Huntington. Although the company primarily works with tree maintenance and disaster recovery, during the wintertime it uses its bucket trucks for holiday decorating jobs. Recently, Looks Great strung 10,000 bulbs on the Montauk Point Lighthouse.
While speaking to Calais Ongania, director of contracted services for LGS, Arnold shared his family’s story and explained that he wanted to pay the company to decorate his brother’s home. But instead of an estimate, Ongania told him LGS would do it for free.
Ongania said the decision came down from the company’s owner, Kristian Agoglia, who was touched by what the family was going through and wanted to help.
On Thursday, he sent a crew to string white lights along the roofline of the Wyllins’ Cape and lit garland around their door. The workers also hung bows and a wreath on the front door, and lined the walkway with lights. Ongania estimated the job would have cost around $1,600.
Viola-Wyllins said she was “in awe” the first time she saw her home lit up.
“It’s just beautiful,” she said.
The outdoor decor inspired her and her husband to get a Christmas tree.
“It lit a fire in us,” she said. “This is what she [Lucille] would want for Daniella.”
Seeing the decorated house also reminds Arnold of his mother, who loved Christmas and her family. In a photo he snapped of the home, he said the lights reflect in such a way that it resembles an angel’s wings.
“I wanted to be able to send my mother’s love from beyond,” he said. “Thank God there are compassionate people in this world that make difficult times better for others.”
He added, “Angels exist, that much I know, and we are going to have a good Christmas.”