Carson City veteran surprised with Christmas decorations |

Carson City veteran surprised with Christmas decorations

Bonnie and Stan Johnson smile in front of their home, newly decked out in Christmas cheer.
Taylor Pettaway/Nevada Appeal |

One local company surprised a Carson City veteran with a little brighter Christmas.

Signature Landscapes surprised Stan and Bonnie Johnson on Monday by decorating their home for the holidays. The company is part of Christmas Decor, an organization that decorates homes of military families and veterans, and uses the program as a way to give back to their community and to military servicemen.

“We do lots of charity through the valley and we like to give back,” said Signature Landscapes owner Tim Scott. “This is the time of year to give back.”

“It is fun and us giving back is good juju. You do for others and then they turn around and do for others too. We love getting to do this more than they do sometimes.”

The Johnsons were one of five veteran families around Carson City and Reno who were selected by Christmas Decor to have their houses decorated free of charge. Stan served for 31 years in the Army between active duty and direct support and he was deployed during Desert Storm and later in Iraq. He has also stayed active in the community, working as a volunteer with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office.

But because of age and injury from the war, he has been losing his eye sight and can’t navigate on a ladder anymore so Stan can no longer participate in his favorite Christmas activity.

“He deserves this because he does so much for the community,” said his daughter Theresa Long. Long was the one who nominated Stan for the program. “He loves putting up decorations, so I can’t wait to see his face.”

Long said her parents tried to put up projection lights as decorations but on Saturday someone stole the lights out of their yard.

For almost two hours on Monday, Scott’s crew strung up lights around the garage, house and windows and hung up wreaths on the front, all to help make the Johnsons’ home shine bright for the holidays. Long and her husband kept Stan and Bonnie busy while the crew was working so they could be surprised when they came home.

And what a surprise it was. Looks of confusion, excitement and even a few tears were seen across the Johnsons’ faces as they took in their new festive decor.

“It makes us feel special,” Bonnie said. “We feel blessed every day and this just adds to it.”

Stan just kept a smile on his face as he kept looking around at the decorations.

“This is just awesome,” Stan said. “As you get older there are just things that you can’t do anymore and so this is humbling. It is fantastic.”

For the married couple, the new lights are just as much for their family to enjoy. Every year the pair hosts a Christmas brunch for their kids and grandkids and because of Stan’s physical limitations they didn’t expect any decorations this year.

“Christmas is our favorite because we get to spend the time with our kids and grandkids,” Bonnie said. “So they will be surprised because we have been telling everyone for months that there is no way he is getting on that ladder (to hang decorations).”