Christmas light project honoring Denison teacher killed in crash

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 10:42 PM CDT
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Wednesday marked the six month anniversary of a Dension teacher’s death after both she and her husband were hit by a car while walking.

A high school friend of her husband John who hangs Christmas lights for a side gig had been following their story through Facebook and offered to light up the Palmer’s house for the holidays.

“I thought, you know, maybe I could hang Christmas lights for John and his kids and do something for them to brighten their spirits for the holidays after everything they’ve gone through in the last six months,” said Dustin Bortzfield, Palmer’s friend.

After hanging lights for the Palmer’s he came up with the idea of the “Katie Palmer Project.”

“Not only did I want to do it for John and his family, but maybe we could come up with a nomination house and call it the ‘Katie House’ and try and brighten someone else’s spirits during their hard time, if they’ve had a hard year or been through a hardship,” Bortzfield said.

So Bortzfield, who’s a firefighter for the Grapevine Fire Department, reached out to other firefighters with other departments throughout Texas to get them involved in the project as well.

Five firefighter contractors are already involved in the project and Bortzfield and Palmer are looking for nominations for anybody “that might need some Christmas cheer or Christmas spirit.”

“We’re going to take the nominations and let John read over them and we’ll select houses in different areas where guys hang lights,” Bortzfield said.

Bortzfield said he would like to see the project go statewide.

“There’s times where you try and look for the beautiful in the world and you did it, you’re doing a great thing,” Palmer told him.

For the season of giving Palmer said there was no better way to honor Katie.

“Katie gave while she was living, she was a teacher, she was a volunteer, she worked with kids, she was a coach and when she died she gave again. She donated her organs," Palmer said.

Bortzfield is trying to raise money to pay for the materials to bring on more contractors to hang lights on more houses.

Anyone looking to donate or nominate a family can visit this link:

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