Eagle River neighborhood honors local firefighter at holiday light show
A small neighborhood in Eagle River dedicated their annual holiday light show in honor of Anchorage firefighter Ben Schultz.
"He's a remarkable, very lucky man," Mike Glidden said. "Last year's show was dedicated to Ben and this year he was fortunate enough to see it."
Schultz is an Anchorage firefighter who suffered a devastating injury while on the job in 2017. Schultz fell 100 feet from a ladder and is still on the road to recovery. Last year at this time, Schultz was still in the hospital recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
Mike Glidden works with Ben and his comrades at the Anchorage Fire Department Maintenance building. Even though Schultz wasn't around, the Gliddens dedicated their seasonal performance to him by lighting up his badge number.
Schultz made an appearance as the 2018 guest of honor and kicked off the holiday light show in front of hundreds of well-wishers and bright-eyed children.
"It meant a lot to me to have him here," Traci Glidden said. "It was fantastic to have everyone see him and see how far he's come in just a year's time. What's even more remarkable is that he had surgery on Wednesday on his ankle. He still showed up to help me open my show and that means a lot to me."
The Gliddens started their neighborhood light show four years ago.
"There was a guy on Easy Street that put it on," Mike said. "Then he moved to Michigan, so we though we better keep it going on this side of town."
The Gliddens started hanging lights and decorations in September, working all the way up until opening night: the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.
"Most everything dances to music," Mike said. "Every song is different, every beat is different and every lighting sequence is different."
"We have over 50,000 bulbs," Traci said. "Our biggest night is Christmas Eve night. As far as opening nights go, I think this one tripled our last one. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger."
The Gliddens also have their music playing on their very own radio station, 89.9 FM.
"A lot of times," Traci said. "People just drive down and park their cars along the street and listen to the music in their cars and watch the lights. I try to get out of the house as much as I can to hand out candy canes."
Each year, the Gliddens bring a firetruck with a sled in the back and Santa on top for the kids.
"We have a little something for everyone," Traci said. "We have a lot of help from the neighborhood. Our daughter helps when she can. It just brings the whole neighborhood together."
The Glidden light show can be found on Harbor Point Loop in the Parkview Terrace in Eagle River.
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