Giving Back

Daughter Arranges Christmas Decorations For North Salem Mom From Afar


NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Patricia Hitchcock of Warner Drive in Croton Falls has always wanted her house outlined in Christmas lights.

She was born in the house she now owns and at 78-years old, she is finally seeing her dream come true.

On Dec. 13, a group of neighbors came to her home to put up dozens of strands of lights. The event was organized by Mindy Brady, Hitchcock’s daughter who lives in Oregon.

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“I told my daughter in the past what I wanted to do with the lights,” Hitchcock said. “I love how it is done at the castle over on Turk Hill Road. It looks so magical.”

As a surprise for her mother, Brady, who has been a teacher in Oregon for the past 25 years, reached out to some old friends who still lived in North Salem. Originally, Brady’s plan was to hire someone to decorate the house for her mother, but Tom Walsh had another idea.

“I know Mindy is so excited that people from her old home town are doing this,” Walsh said on Facebook. “She had asked to hire someone and I just thought it would be nice to do it for them. My motto is to make someone smile every day. This is why I want to do this.”

Walsh put the plan into action by posting it on the “You know you are from North Salem if…” page on Facebook. After seeing the post, Kathleen Heuschkel, a former North Salem resident who lives across the border in Vails Grove, decided she wanted to help also.

Hitchcock is a retired bus driver and teacher’s aide from the North Salem School District. She is also a charter member of the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

“I knew some of these kids from the high school,” Hitchcock said. “Not from when I was in high school, but from when I worked for the district.”

Walsh brought his friend Jake Sears. Heuschkel, who knows Hitchcock through the ambulance corps, asked her companion Paul Levin to help. Hannah Casey also lent a hand. Together the team was able to outline the house in lights as well as put the lights on a tree on the corner of the property.

Brady purchased most of the lights that were hung. The crew of volunteers brought ladders, staple guns and extra sets of lights to ensure that they had enough.

“It was nice,” Hitchcock said. “Everyone got along real well today. There were no arguments. They all just worked together and did an incredible job.

The setup took about an hour and a half.

Brady will have an opportunity to see the fruits of the labor for Christmas. She will be visiting Hitchcock.

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