Sunday, April 21, 2024

The community's bright light

Staff Writer | December 3, 2020 1:00 AM

To Post Falls residents Shane and Lisa Anderson, each Christmas light hung on the Post Falls Police Department this Christmas represents a silent thank you for their unrelenting community service.

The son of a first responder, Shane Anderson grew up watching his father actively take care of others and help people in their darkest hour. Now a father of his own, he and Lisa decided three years ago that they needed to give back in their own way — by decorating the PFPD building in multicolored stands of Christmas cheer.

"I think the majority of the people in the community do appreciate first responders and police officers," he said. "This is a cool way to allow both the community and the department to connect, to have a conversation, to tell them thank you."

What started as a grassroots initiative of the Andersons and their company Short Green Landscaping has grown to attract the assistance of volunteers and donations from local businesses like Horizon Landscape and Supplies, North Idaho Immediate Care, H&E Equipment Services. Originally decorating only what they could afford, the team can now decorate almost every bush, tree, and awning from tip to tail.

"The first two years, there were probably eight to 10 of us stringing lights," Lisa Anderson said. "This year, we had about 25 come out on Saturday morning. From young to old, from eight in the morning to noon, people just came in and asked what they could do."

Approximately $4,000 worth of Christmas lights illuminated the PFPD building Wednesday evening, and as Lisa counted down to the big reveal, officers, their families, and Post Falls residents gathered in awe. After the trials of 2020 and the tension it has brought, the Andersons hoped that the lights' warm glow would inspire positivity back to the community.

"Hopefully, the staff here will know that their community absolutely loves them when they come in to work and see this every day," Lisa Anderson said. "That's what we want them to remember, that through this little glimpse of light, the little beacon of hope, shows we see them. Even if we don't say it every day, thank you."

For Capt. Jason Mealer, the lights do just that. Due to COVID, many employees and officers have gone the extra mile, picking up shifts and working overtime. So as they head in, or out, of a long day, the Andersons hope the glimmer of these lights guide them along.

"It means a lot to all of us," Mealer said. "For employees, especially on a graveyard shift when it's dark instead of being gloomy, it's nice and bright."

Not only do the Andersons see it as a thank you to the officers, Shane said, but as a reinforcement of the police department's positive work for families and children in the area. Through the combined efforts of the PFPD, first responders, namely PFPD Chief Pat Knight, Shane Anderson, believes the Post Falls community has become a family with a culture of generosity.

"These officers go and pick a fight with evil every day," he said. "Everyone anywhere in Post Falls has someone looking out for them, and they don't ask for anything. Chief Knight and each one of these officers cares for the people of this community, and we needed to let them know that we appreciate them."


Post Falls resident Joy Grey writes a heartfelt thank you note to the police department Wednesday night at the lighting ceremony hosted by Short Green Landscaping. (MADISON HARDY/Press)


Over the years the owners of Short Green Landscaping Lisa and Shane Anderson have grown their grassroots lighting ceremony to cover over 40% of the Post Falls Police Department building. With more community involvement they hope to do more each year. (MADISON HARDY/Press)


In honor of the Post Falls Police Department's service to the community, volunteers and local businesses joined Short Green landscaping in decorating the police station with dozens of multicolored Christmas lights. (MADISON HARDY/Press)