Local Coast Guardsman shows off Christmas lights for a good cause


LELAND, NC (WWAY) — If you like Christmas lights, the display at a Coast Guardsman’s home in Leland is something you may want to check out.

It’s his chance to not only entertain the community, but also give back to it.

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“It’s just something that we’ve always done. It’s Christmas time. We like to put up a bunch of lights. We like to enjoy our family and have a good time,” said Tyler Ford.

As a member of the Coast Guard, Ford spends months at a time away from his family.

Now he’s back at his home at 254 Buff Court in Leland and it’s Christmas time!

“I lost count a while ago,” said Ford, speaking about the number of Christmas lights at his home.

He’s created an impressive light display for the entire community to enjoy.

“Our display was upwards of about 70,000 at one point. Here, due to safety factors, we want to make sure the house is safe, so we’ve limited it to about 40. I would estimate about 40,000 lights up,” said Ford.

It’s a tradition for Ford and his family to put up lights every Christmas, no matter where he is stationed.

“This is something my family’s done since the early ’90s. Beyond family members passing, I’ve just continued the tradition. I keep it going every year. Every year that I’m home in the States, I try to light up the house,” said Ford.

Ford spent part of this year in places like Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

He’s been part of the Coast Guard’s hurricane relief efforts, helping people get back on their feet.

Now, he hopes his light display can brighten the holidays for people right here at home.

“If other people enjoy it, we’d just assume that we’d try to do something to help the community as well. That turned into the canned good drive a few years ago. That’s followed with me with the lights and we’ve kinda reestablished that here,” said Ford.

Ford welcomes people to come check out the lights free of charge, but in this season of giving, he accepts canned goods and monetary donations for the Brunswick County Food Bank, all in an effort to make sure others have a Merry Christmas.

If you want to go check out Ford’s festive display, be advised that you may need to take an alternate route, due to the Ploof Road construction just off Highway 17 in Leland.

Ford says he plans to keep the lights up through New Years.