NOTE: Christmas display in the photo is not the one referenced in the story. 

It's been a rough year for Dale Marks of Riverdale. He, like so many others came down with COVID-19. It also caused him to suffer 2 strokes and a heart attack. As sad as that is, Marks has always been part of a tight-knit community that looked forward to his efforts every year in decorating for Christmas. It wasn't just for show, either. His display raised thousands of dollars every year for the Food Bank of Iowa.

Because of all he has gone through, he was unable to make the effort this year, but his neighbors knew the tradition needed to continue. Marks and his wife were actually all set to hire and pay someone but the folks in his neighborhood along Ashby Avenue came to the rescue, completing the job in four hours. You can see the video in the link posted at KCCI.

It gets better. According to KCCI, businessman Bob Coffey joined the effort with a group of his own volunteers, and now, the public can visit the display in Riverdale, on December 4, 11, 15, 18 and on Christmas Eve from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Money and food donations will be accepted.  Annette Hecker is a spokesperson for the Food Bank of Iowa and says a little bit goes a long way. $10 will feed an Iowan for a week, and $5 will provide enough food to fill a child's backpack for a weekend.

Meanwhile, Marks has an extra sense of pride and gratefulness this holiday season, saying "I laid in the hospital for 28 days not knowing if I was going to survive, and I knew, I knew, that I need to carry on if I at all could. If at all possible, if I have a last breath there is something that God has for me to do to help others,"

We are praying for Dale Marks and his family this season, and wish them all the best.

Get our free mobile app

You could win $1,000 by helping us "Light Up Eastern Iowa-2021". Download our mobile app to send us your brightest and most creative holiday display

Storybook Cottage in Des Moines

Legacy Stone House in Winterset