100,000 Christmas lights strung for grieving senior

Friends, family and strangers rally to give a woman who recently lost her son a much-needed dose of Christmas spirit.

Neighbourhood rallies to string 100,000 lights after Madeline Oag's son dies

Johnny Trombley skipped school to give Madeline Oag a dose of Christmas spirit Wednesday by decorating her yard. (Arda Zakarian/CBC News)

This year a house in Essex County has been dark inside and out.

Madeline Oag lost her 40 year old son Doug suddenly last month. He died while on vacation in Jamaica.

Every year Doug put up the family's Christmas outdoor lights. He started stringing those more than 100,000 lights again this October but never got the chance to finish.

So, Wednesday, some elves with Christmas spirit finished the job.

Ryan Bondy took the lead. He has been the family's property manager for years and knows the family well. 

'Hopefully we can give Mrs. Oag and her family a little Christmas spirit.'— Ryan Bondy

"Hopefully we can give Mrs. Oag and her family a little Christmas spirit," Bondy said.

He and his employees from Evernew Professional Services volunteered to decorate the house. 

And when friends, family, neighbours and even strangers heard, they joined.

"There are some people we don't even know, outside putting up decorations in honour of my brother so that my family can have a Christmas," Doug's sister Toni Torok said as a complement of volunteers hung lights and decorations from trees as tall as 50 feet.
Doug Oag was the one who strung the family Christmas lights. He died suddenly earlier this month. (Family Photo)

It took the group hours to finish the task.

Some took the day off of work or school to participate..

"I heard about their son so I thought that it would be nice," said student Johnny Trombley, who, fittingly, donned a elf's tuque for the occasion.

"It feels great being here, having everyone come together as a community. To help out feels good," said Doug's best friend Martin Pieniadz. "You know, I miss the guy but he's deep inside."

The event was meticulously planned and organized. And not one bulb was faulty.

"It wouldn't be the same around here if we weren't here putting up all these lights," friend Jolene Roy said. "We want to share the spirit and this is what he would have wanted."

The lights were lit Wednesday night at 785 North Talbot Road and will burn bright throughout the holiday season. 

With files from Arda Zakarian