Evansville family honors Corporal’s life with Christmas lights he loved


EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) — A family is keeping their son’s memory alive every Christmas, with one of the brightest light displays in Evansville.

“There’s a lot of families separated right now. Right…overseas. We just think it’s important to recognize all the service, all the departments.”

If you look hard enough, right off Oak Hill Drive in Evansville, you will find a Christmas tribute to the troops, built by Mark and Sunny Powell.

“We started out small, and just kept growing.”

The Powell family knows the heaviness of loss during the holidays.

“It took me six years before I could even put up a tree again,” Sunny remembers.

Their son, Corporal Will Powell, died in Iraq in 2007. But before that, every year, mother and son would pile into the car and take in the lights around town.

“It was kind of mine and his thing to go out and look at Christmas lights when he was younger.”

What began as a way to keep Will’s memory alive became a place of healing, and community.

“No matter what’s going on in your life, you can find something to be happy about.”

A display this bright is a year-round project.

“All the frames we have out here, my wife Sunny, we stripped them down, painted them, rewired every one of them.”

All that hard work creates a display that would make Corporal Will Powell proud.

“He would think this is a mini Garvin’s Park. And a lot of people say that. […] I would think this is a place I would have to take him to every year.”

The lights shine almost as brightly as the young man who is honored here.

“To me, he’s home now. He’s looking down on us and I’m sure he’s enjoying everything.”

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