NAMPA — Like many families, the Mcburney family’s Christmas decorations seem to grow each year. However, about two years ago the family added something more -- a tribute to two men who died in a plane crash while delivering firefighting equipment.
Jeremy McBurney is in charge of creating the elaborate display, which includes about 10,000 lights, holiday cut-outs, and a tree. He showed KTVB all the sights and sounds on Christmas Day.
“This year we just wrapped the whole center of the tree,” he said. “It just brightens up everything.”
McBurney has the method down, and each year his family’s display gets a little more complex. This year included a nativity scene and characters from Star Wars.
“Everything combined with the nativity with the tree, and the posters just make this beautiful,” said McBurney.
The family also has a special sign at the head of their driveway on Iowa Avenue to honor the two local heroes the display is dedicated to.
In the fall of 2011-- deep in the fire season, a firefighting plane left Salmon Idaho and was bound for Caldwell, but never showed up. On board was pilot 55-year-old Jerry Reding and his passenger 38-year-old Jamie Sexton.
Reding and his family were neighbors to the McBurneys.
“This display started with the passing of a very dear neighbor and friend,” said Jeremy’s mother Belinda McBurney.
2011 was the first Christmas the McBurney family put up the tribute.
REMEMBERING TWO HEROES
“He (Jeremy) was decorated the house and he said you know mom can we get some more lights, if we put more lights do you think Jerry could see them from heaven?” said Belinda.
Belinda said Reding was also a hardworking farmer.
“He would stop everything and give give give and not just at Christmas but all year long,” she said.
“He was a very caring person he would do anything for anyone,” said Jeremy.
The family says that with each light and decoration they add to their Christmas display, the more it seems these two men are remembered. People stop to look at the lights and read the sign, one person even stopped to say thank you.
“(We) just started decorating and saw how much joy it brought to my mom and thought that maybe the same could be brought to everyone else that cared about Jerry and Jamie and its blown up to this scale,” said Jeremy.
“The memories of Jerry and Jamie are still touching lives,” said Belinda.
Belinda believes everyone should live each day thinking about how they can help others. She said she does that on behalf of Jerry because she knows he would do the same.
“He is definitely looking down and I am just glad that he has never been forgotten,” said Jeremy. “He is still going to be remembered no matter what.”