NORTHFIELD — A crew of four workers from Christmas Décor by Fresh Cut Lawn arrived on Revere Avenue Thursday, Dec. 7, and with almost military precision went to work stringing red, white and blue lights across the front lawn of Bob and Eleanor Webb's home.
The crew was prepared for its mission: to decorate and illuminate Webb, a U.S. Navy Korean War veteran who spent 12 years onboard ships around the world and 31 years in the reserves.
Webb, 84, was chosen by Christmas Décor to have his home decorated free of charge.
“I can’t believe they picked an old guy like me. It really is an honor,” Webb said while standing on his front porch. “I like to decorate for Christmas, but I am not so good on a ladder these days, so I sure do appreciate them decorating my house.”
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Shawn Ferrie, owner of Christmas Décor by Fresh Cut Lawn based in Egg Harbor Township, said Webb was nominated for the free holiday light display by a neighbor, and he was chosen because of his years of service to his country and his community.
Webb was a police officer in Northfield after returning from his tour of duty in the Navy and retired from the force in 1985. He and his wife still live in the home they moved into as a young couple in 1958.
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For Ferrie, it was an easy choice. Her husband, John Ferrie, and his sisters grew up in Northfield just a few doors from the Webbs.
While the installation team of Brian Cramer, Brian Ferrie, Norlyn Chavez and Jalil Cooper transformed the outside of the home, inside the rest of the Christmas Décor crew were watching Webb’s home movies from the 1960s.
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Webb said he spent five Christmases aboard ship while in the Navy, and that it was hard to be separated from his family during the holidays.
“Want to know the good part about being at sea at Christmas time? You never have to wait in a line to do your Christmas shopping,” he joked.
Webb said he remembers the friends and shipmates who were with him during tours of duty in the Mediterranean, Korea, and in the Pacific Ocean.
“Everyone goes their separate ways after the ship heads in, but we are all brothers in arms in the military, and we all appreciate each other and are thankful for one another,” Webb said.
John Ferrie and his sisters, Theresa Masciulli and Debbie Schurman, lived on Revere Avenue back when Webb was a member of the Police Department. While they had not seen him for some time, they reminisced over hot chocolate and doughnuts.
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Cramer, the general manager, said the crew was using C9 red, white and blue LED bulbs to outline the roof and the frame of the house and for ground cover down the walkway. Along the front porch Cramer wound garland prelit with tiny white lights on the posts and draped it across the railing. The plan was to add some red, white and blue ribbon to the garland.
Shawn Ferrie said their Christmas Décor franchise has been participating in the decorated family program since 1998, and she feels honored to be able to give something special to a veteran.
The crew spent the better part of the morning decorating and will come back in January to take the lights down and store them for next year.
Check out a video of Bob Webb, Northfield's decorated soldier, at Shorenewstoday.com.