By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsDecember 17, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - A local business thanked one military Family this holiday season by installing more than 1,000 LED holiday lights at the Soldier's home Dec. 5.
Rob Schmidt, owner of Christmas Decor by Bob's Lawn Care, donated time and resources to hang the festive bulbs on Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Lopus' home on Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Schmidt, a retired Baltimore County police officer, said he just wanted to do something to show his appreciation for the sacrifices military Families make every day.
"Soldiers go away, and their Families have to deal without them for a year at a time. I never had to go through that," Schmidt said.
Schmidt met the Lopus Family through GreenCare for Troops, a nationwide outreach program that is coordinated by Project EverGreen and connects local green industry professionals with military Families.
Lopus' wife, Mary, contacted GreenCare for Troops last summer because she needed help with lawn maintenance during her husband's deployment. Schmidt pitched in last year by providing lawn care and installing Christmas lights.
"With four children and a job, running a household on my own was overwhelming," she said. "I appreciated the help. I definitely would not have been able to install Christmas lights by myself."
This year, Schmidt installed Christmas lights so that Jeff Lopus can see them in person.
"[Schmidt] has done so much for our Family; it really says a lot about his character," Lopus said.
Due to multiple deployments, Lopus hasn't celebrated Christmas with his Family in three years. Last year, while stationed in Iraq, he shared Christmas greetings with his Family via webcam. This year, he is looking forward to a more traditional holiday at home.
"My 3-year old son was excited that I was home to put up the tree with him," said Lopus, who is assigned to the National Ground Intelligence Center. "My children don't know that we are having Christmas lights installed today. This will be a good surprise for them."