ST. MARYS — Midwest Electric in St. Marys and Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative announced two winners for their joint Griswold Christmas Lights Contest, a partnership aimed at showcasing and celebrating the holiday spirit of their members, most of whom live in rural portions of north west and west central Ohio, as well as north east Indiana.
After members of the electric cooperatives submitted photos of their outdoor light displays, entries were posted on the corresponding company’s websites and were voted upon. A single winner for each co-op was announced on Facebook Dec. 19.
Midwest Electric member Ryan Bollenbacher and wife, Sarah, of St. Henry, Ohio are one of the winners. The couple and their six children put up the display together, which usually takes about two days to complete. The Bollenbacher children include Kennedy and Kylie, twins, age 8, Amelia, age 6, Myles, age 2, and Marcus and Micah, twins, age 1. Daughter Abigail, who was Amelia’s twin, passed away.
“When I was growing up, I remember helping my dad put up the Christmas lights at home. It was always an exciting time,” Ryan said. “Now, I hope to pass that tradition along to my children. They are excited to ‘help,’ even if it’s holding the ladder.”
When building their home, Ryan says he told the electrician he needed plenty of outlets around the house (which ended up being crucial, as he uses most of them and plans to keep adding lights).
“I enjoy watching the cars drive by and looking at the lights we put up. Our whole street is lit up with lanterns for Christmas. If you’re out and about, come check them out. They are for our whole family and all the kids who go by to enjoy.”
Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative member Casey Etter of Cloverdale, Ohio, was that organization’s winner. The 18-year-old son of Mark Etter said the display uses around 10,000 bulbs and took him five days to set up.
Both winners received a $50 bill credit from their electric cooperative for their hard work, efforts, and time. The area cooperatives thank all who submitted photos and voted in the online contest.