One month, some heavy machinery, 7 laborers, and 170,ooo lights later, it's ready for prime time! Derek and Courtney Whitis light their SouthWood, Florida home every holiday season. This year, they’ve outdone themselves!
The whole thing took months of planning and about four weeks of installation with heavy equipment. While the display will likely send the Whitis family’s electric bill sky high, Courtney Whitis says that the cost of the display is “nothing in comparison to what the troops do every day for our freedom.” Derek shares that "the end goal is to say thanks to the troops for all that they do and hope that everyone who sees the video takes a second to say 'thank you' to all those that have served, are serving, and will serve. Freedom truly is free, as long as we have American troops paying that debt. Our troops make it possible for us to live our lives and enjoy our liberties - we can't thank them enough!"
What do their neighbors think of their efforts? The display has heightened the patriotic spirit on the street. The neighbors love it, and some have even been inspired to light their own homes as well. The Whitis' hope to inspire others to express their own appreciation to our troops for the sacrifices they have made in an effort to preserve our freedom.
Derek says that this effort was inspired by the sacrifices made among his own family and friends who have served in the military: "My Dad quit high school to go to Vietnam when he was 17, my father in law is a Ranger who served in Vietnam, our cousin Bryce White is a Seebee serving in Afghanistan right now, and my brother in law is USMC LtCol Tim Anderson, CO of HMH 366- the Hammerheads. He and our sister in law, Stephanie Anderson, do an amazing job serving our country and Marines."
Derek's Grand Am road racing team, Freedom Autosport, has been working with the Semper Fi Fund for the last few years with car graphics, on air coverage with SPEED TV, and fundraising. Of the Semper Fi Fund , Derek says "We've been very impressed with the amazing services provided by the Semper Fi Fund and how well it's managed. You don't find charities with this kind of commitment and staff very often."
In the video above, Derek and Courtney suggest taking a look at the Semper Fi Fund website to discover ways to honor and support our veterans. For ideas on how to say "thank you" to those who have sacrificed so much to preserve our freedom please see "31 Ways to Give". You may read more about the Whitis' inspiring Light Display on the Semper Fi Fund website as well.
Thanks, Derek and Courtney, for allowing us to showcase your labor of love! Inspiring!