Residents help 88-year-old man decorate tree he planted as sapling 40 years ago

A longtime resident of Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio had a special start to the holiday season this year.

MENTOR-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio — A longtime resident of Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio, had a special start to the holiday season this year.

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On the day after Thanksgiving, the Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department said that a resident of 70 years named Gene was surprised by family members and community members.

Gene, 88, had planted a sapling 40 years ago at his house on Thunderbird Drive. His son brought that sapling home from school on Arbor Day, police said.

The sapling has been growing for about 40 years and is now around 40 feet tall, according to WOIO.

For decades, Gene had been dreaming about decorating the tree, the news outlet reported.

Donations were made for lighting and for the first time ever the tree was decorated and lit! Gene was overwhelmed with emotion seeing the tree strung with lights for the first time,” police said.

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