Courthouse Employee Spreads Holiday Cheer 7,000 Light Bulbs at a Time
By Csaba Sukosd | December 21, 2018
For some, the season's greetings arrive months before the holiday season. Hardin County Courthouse maintenance supervisor Richard Lawson is one of them. His starts before Halloween.
"People can't believe that I'm getting ready for Christmas already, you know, maybe at the end of October," Lawson said.
Every year, he decorates the courthouse for the holiday season, spending weeks transforming the building into a winter wonderland. Along with wreaths, garlands, and ribbons, he hangs lights from the top of the roof extending all the way to the ground. In total, Lawson estimates there are between 7,000 and 8,000 lights.
"All of the little light bulbs kind of add up," he said.
It's a lot of work under normal conditions. His preparations in 2018 were anything but routine.
"This was a little bit more challenging year for myself. On the 7th of October, I had a heart attack. I had one full blockage and another partial blockage that I had to have two stints put in," Lawson said.
Like Santa, Lawson wasn't about to let a setback stop him from spreading holiday cheer. A month after the heart attack, he started the month-long process only a week behind his usual schedule. He still managed to finish before Kenton's annual holiday parade on Nov. 20. The parade starts at the courthouse after a countdown unveiling the holiday lights.
"It doesn't have the commissioners' name on it or anyone else's name on it. It all comes back to me, and, you know, I like to do a good job," Lawson said.
More than 1,000 people attended the lighting ceremony and parade.
"I'm grateful that Hardin County can bring that to this. It's amazing for such a small, little county to be able to do this," said Kenton resident Daniel Tackett. "It's just nice to be able to see everybody get along and be one big community for this."
Personal pride aside, Lawson is grateful that he gets to carry on a county tradition dating back to the early '90s.
"I love to get those compliments," said Lawson. "I hear people say that we have the best looking courthouse at Christmas time that there is around the state of Ohio."