As we enter into the week of Christmas, travelers from across the Midwest will make the pilgrimage back 'home' for the holidays. If those travelers are heading North or South along I-35 during the evening, they will be treated once again to Jerry's Tree, shining brightly into the night, offering up a beacon of hope for those weary travelers as we once again face gathering for the holidays amid rising cases of COVID-19, and still in a pandemic.

Image Credit: YouTube User Red Orchid Productions
Image Credit: YouTube User Red Orchid Productions
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Jerry Lageson has been brightening the nights of more than an estimated 2 million people since he started putting up his lights along I-35 years ago. Jerry told Red Orchid PRoductions in 2013, that the idea for the tree came to him after seeing something similar in the Twin Cities, except in his case his tree was located along the interstate, not tucked away from commuters like the tree that inspired Jerry.

His tree has only grown fans, and lights since being first lit. Once there were more than 8,000 white lights strung up along and in between the branches or Jerry's Tree, as the years went along, some tweaks were made, and more lights added as strings of lights would burn out and need to be replaced.

Last year, Jerry lit his tree earlier than normal, and for that, we were all grateful. As last year was a year of uncertainty with a global pandemic being just a few months old, and the thought of what may come before vaccinations were made available to the world's population.

Image Credit: Red Orchid Productions
Image Credit: Red Orchid Productions
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This year the tree, still bright white, shines a little differently when I view it on my commute to or from Owatonna during the evening. This year, when I see that tree along the side of I-35, I feel a sense of thankfulness. Thankful for everything that 2021 brought me.

So as you pass Jerry's tree this year, take a moment and think about what you are thankful for this year, and maybe make a resolution for 2022.

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