The Village of Oak Harbor swung in holiday mode earlier than normal to join the slew of support for a 13-year-old Port Clinton boy battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.
On Tuesday, crews replaced white globes with green and red globes on Oak Harbor’s decorative, three-prong downtown lights and strapped tiny Christmas trees below them. At dusk, the festive lights shimmered along with those holiday lights on the full-size Christmas tree on Church Street across from village hall.
Village council asked for the changeover at Monday night’s meeting to help brighten the last days of Devin Kohlman.
“This kid’s big thing is Christmas,” said Mayor Bill Eberle. He told council that several residents had asked what the village could do to show solidarity with their Port Clinton neighbors.
Doctors recently sent Devin home after deciding treatments were no longer helping the teen who has been battling the cancer for more than a year.
For more than a week, the Port Clinton community has come together to bring Devin an early Christmas. They decorated the park outside Devin’s window and showered him with cards. They even arranged for snow, courtesy of scrapped ice remnants from the ice rink at Fremont Recreational Center.
The effort to bring Devin holiday happiness became an international story.
Barry Reau, superintendent of the village’s power division, put crews on the project in the first thing in the morning. He also arranged for photos to be sent to Devin.
Oak Harbor doesn’t usually put up its holiday arrangements until the week before Thanksgiving, said Randy Genzman, village operations manager. The lights are switched on the Friday after the holiday.
But all were glad to change the schedule if it meant bringing a smile to Devin’s face.
Jon Fickert said some residents had already done their part. “One of my neighbors has a “Merry Christmas Devin” sign in front of his house.”
Councilwoman Donna Wendt noted Devin also has ties to the village. “His grandmother was born and raised in Oak Harbor,” she said.