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Non-profit group leads charge to improve Gregory Christmas tree after vandalism, fall

Posted at 12:04 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 08:52:23-05

GREGORY, Texas — The city of Gregory has decided not to let any Grinches spoil their Christmas.

City officials announced by social media that the city's Christmas tree recently was vandalized. But thanks to the work of Sylvia Ochoa, President of the non-profit Gregory Independent Volunteers Establishment — or GIVE — the tree is now decked out in about as many decorations as it can hold.

She put her group to work, grabbing extra ornaments they had around their homes, and coming to Our Children's Park in Gregory where the city's Christmas tree is located to add to the tree.

"I just asked for a couple of people to come do this," she said. "It’s just part of my nature to come and improve our community."

Two of Ochoa's nieces were among the half-dozen volunteers who spent two hours Monday night decorating the tree.

“We came to put up some ornaments because of what happened," 17 year old Gregory resident Mallory Hendryx said. "We had some extras, so we came and brought them with us so we can help my tia out.”

"We have to decorate (the city's Christmas tree), because so Santa will put all the presents under the tree," 7-year-old Chevelle Hendryx said.

A local welder repaired the damage the vandals caused to the base of the tree in early December, and the city quickly had it back in place.

But the vandalism also left the tree without many decorations, because they were broken.

And then, as a cold front came through this past weekend, high wind knocked the tree over again breaking more ornaments.

The decorating efforts Monday night have the tree standing with almost every branch covered in festive decorations — to Ochoa's delight.

“GIVE’s mission statement is to have activities in our community that can lift its morale," she said. "And, you know, tearing down a tree is not going to lift anyone’s morale. So this will.”