LEHIGHTON, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — These people at upper park in Lehighton aren’t decorating just any old Christmas tree. It’s a replacement tree for one that was stolen.
“Disbelief. I was shocked. Then I was a little upset,” Susan Bloom, Nevah Hoffman’s grandmother, said.
The stolen, 5-foot tree memorialized 7 month old Nevah Hoffman who died in a fire in 2015. The Hoffman family was heartbroken when they visited her memorial tree on Friday and found it missing.
“I think it was just unfortunate. They were going to take something and it just so happened to be hers,” Bloom said.
The tree was part of the ‘Christmas trees in the park’ program, in which people can dedicate a tree to a person or company.
“Sometimes the tree falls over due to the wind, sometimes an ornament gets taken. But this year unfortunately we had the worst case and one of the trees was actually taken out of the park with all the deocrations and ornaments on it,” Autumn Abelovsky, a member of the Parks and Recreation Board, said.
Abelovsky says she created a Facebook post on Friday about the stolen tree and when she woke up the next morning, it had gone viral.
“I saw that 27,000 people saw the post. It was shared almost 400 times, so many comments. An outpouring of community spirit and support,” Abelovsky said.
The post requested anyone who had an extra ornament to place it on a new replacement tree, which was brought to the park by foot hill farms. The community responded, and by 1 pm the tree was almost completely decorated. Caroline Metro brought three Christmas ornaments from her own tree to put on Nevah’s tree.
“It makes me feel very sad. And when my mom read it I watched her cry last night and I felt really bad so we decided to come here today and give them ornaments,” Metro said.
“It’s overwhelming. It truly is. Like I said I was in shock. I coudln’t believe that so many people that we don’t even know care so much to do something nice for our family,” Bloom said.