Holiday light show benefits children
BY COREY DAVIS
Thursday, November 29, 2018
A local business owner and her family are using their Rocky Mount home to get people into the Christmas spirit while also helping fund the educational and medical needs of children.
Dr. Kelly Senglar-Vitale is the president and owner of Manual Physical Therapy Inc., which operates two clinics at 139 N. Winstead Ave. in Rocky Mount and 3200 N. Nash St. in Wilson.
In addition to her work as a physical therapist, Vitale is also known for the elaborate Christmas light show outside her home at 7952 Bridgeview Road. The light show is displayed from 6 to 11 p.m. every night and started on Nov. 22 and will run through Dec. 15.
Vitale said this year she and family added 100 strands of Christmas lights on top of the lights it has used in the past. She added they have more than three miles — or more than 20,000 feet — of wire for the lights. When the house is lit up, people not only can enjoy the immense light display around the home and on trees in the front lawn but also can listen to music coming from the house that can be heard along the walkway and in spectators’ vehicles on radio station 91.1 FM.
People who want to get closer look at the lights can take a walk on the lighted Christmas pathway. Vitale said additional program channels were added to the light show this year as well as a new stable for the nativity scene, new shooting stars, gingerbread men and candy garden. Vitale also described a new U.S. Coast Guard boat display to represent her daughter who is now in the Coast Guard.
“We get a lot of people to drive by, stop and look at the light show,” Vitale said. “The different songs being played makes it a show more than just lights.”
For Vitale and her family, the large, extravagant Christmas light show isn’t just about being fancy but also serves a purpose. For the first time ever, Vitale is using the Christmas light show for charity to help raise money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children and for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in Rocky Mount, which her children attend. One hundred percent of the donations will go to both.
“We wanted one on a medical children base and one on an educational base,” she said. “We know there are a lot people here that have benefited from the Shriners Hospitals. Being a physical therapist, I work with a lot of kids that have actually benefited from free health care through the hospital, and that is amazing. OLPH is a school that has been in the community for a very long time and it’s powerful that this was the first school that desegregated and accepted children regardless of color even before the Supreme Court case.”
Vitale said she had been wanting to do a charity fundraiser through the Christmas light show for awhile and plans to make this a yearly occurrence. She said the light display had grown more and more over the past four years. In six of the past seven days, she said, people have been gracious enough to put their hard-earned money into the donation box, which is emptied every night.
“I felt like if I was going to advertise this (light show) and ask people to come to raise money for a charity or give donations that it needed to be something sort of over the top. Nobody wants to come drive 10 to 15 minutes to come see three or four strings of lights,” she said. “We’re just happy to add some Christmas cheer during this holiday season.”
Next month there will be hot chocolate fundraising nights when people can walk the lighted walkway and enjoy hot chocolate and candy canes from 6 to 9 p.m. starting Saturday, Dec. 8, 15 and 22. Vitale said the light show doesn’t take place on rainy or windy days.