Margate Veteran Surprised with Christmas Light Display by FPL and Florida National Guard
Volunteers waiting to surprise Margate resident Terella Brown with a light display. {David Volz}

By David Volz

When Terella Brown arrived at her Margate home on Tuesday evening, she could not believe her eyes.

More Christmas lights were on her home and the yard than she had ever seen.

“I was so excited. At first, it scared me. To come home and all those people who had decorated my home, it was all very exciting for me,” said Brown. “I had never decorated my home, and this was all so beautiful.”

Terella’s family, including her mother and daughters, worked with FPL and the Florida National Guard to make the special event a reality. FPL employees assembled at her home early in the afternoon to begin placing the lights.

“Our company encourages employees to volunteer and give back to the community,” said Christine Shaw, spokesperson for FPL. She participated in the project and worked with the lights. “Many people who work for FPL want to volunteer and help others.”

Brown has handled many challenges in her life. She is part of the Florida National Guard, where she runs the 138th Transportation, a medium-truck company within the National Guard. This unit uses the M1088 Tractor Truck as its main mobility asset. During the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, her unit was on the southwest coast supporting Florida’s response, according to Brandon Grant, a spokesperson for FPL.

Brown is a single mother with four daughters and two grandsons. They range in age from 27 to seven months, according to Grant.

The project included decorating the home with thousands of LED lights and solar-powered decorations. For the past 16 years, according to Grant, FPL has had a holiday program designed to show appreciation for local heroes in the community.

“She has lived in that house for 13 years. It was amazing to see all the family members who were there and were so excited. That really stands out,” said Grant.

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Author Profile

David Volz
David Volz
David Volz has worked as a writer in South Florida for 35 years. He has written for the Sun-Sentinel, Hollywood Gazette, School Transportation News, South Dade News Leaders, Observer among others. He has an MA in Communications from Florida Atlantic University and a BA in Communications from Valparaiso University. Volz teaches Communications at Miami Dade College and Palm Beach State College. He lives in Coral Springs and enjoys running and participating in 5Ks and half-marathons.
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