CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Four-thousand lights, 200 feet of garland, snowmen, presents and so much more deck the home of the Alvarez family -- a Christmas surprise for the busy family of 10 who still manage to find time to give back to their North Carolina community.
The surprise was pulled off Tuesday by Brandon Stephens, president of Christmas Decor, and seven of his helpful elves. The home and building company has installed Christmas decorations free-of-charge to 200 deserving families a year since 2005. Two separate people nominated the Alvarezs for the holiday gift.
"It was evident that they deserved some recognition, and they deserved a gift," Stephens said.
Geisha Alvarez is working toward a degree while balancing her eight children's schedules and serving as a caregiver to her husband, Angel. The father and veteran sustained a traumatic brain injury when his convoy was hit by an IED in Iraq, and he's also a two-time cancer survivor.
Even with a full plate, the pair volunteers with veteran organizations like Team Patriot and Operation Homefront.
"The best way to keep on pushing and live is to do things for others and that would fulfill me," Angel Alvarez said.
Now, this twinkling token of appreciation is making this family's holiday all the merrier.
"It makes us happy. It makes us know that what we do for other people, help them out in a time of need, it counts for something," Angel said.
"I'm going to cry again," Geisha added.