LUBBOCK, TX - In the season of giving and all things bright, a local business wanted to do just those two things for an Army veteran and his family.
Mike Vasquez suffered a spinal injury in 2009 following an attack in Afghanistan. He had to use a wheelchair during recovery, and after some progress months later and getting to walk a bit again, the severity of his injuries began to worsen. After brain surgery in 2013, Vasquez was placed in a wheelchair permanently.
"That first couple years were kind of dark. I stayed to myself, stayed inside and was kind of just a hermit crab honestly," said Vasquez. "After that, I was like 'you know what? I can't do this for the rest of my life, I gotta do something.'"
More than just "something," Vasquez competes in hand cycling races across the U.S., and rides every morning. Although very active, Vasquez realizes there are certain things he just can't do, something the holidays are a constant reminder of.
"They [his children] look out at all the houses before the lights are put up and ask 'Dad when are we gonna get our lights put up?' Well we're figure it out," said Vasquez.
However, he didn't have to. Instead, Tanner Bates, the owner of Lubbock Designscapes and his team stepped in to lend a helping hand to the Army veteran.
"In the winter time we slow down a bit, so in that time putting up Christmas lights is a way for us to give back," said Bates.
Bates too is a veteran, he served in the Marines from 1999-2007. He shared that getting to put the Christmas lights up for Vasquez's family was more than just a simple favor: it meant getting to help out a comrade, a brother. The local group, Vetstar, set the two up last year when Bates' team first helped the family get their Christmas lights up.
"Glad to do it, it's a gift that we're always gong to give for as long as Mike's in Lubbock, as long as I'm in Lubbock, as long as Designscapes in Lubbock we're gonna do it, it's gonna happen," said Bates.
"My wife, the kids enjoy it. It's a blessing," said Vasquez. ""Instead of having to look at everyone else's and saying 'what about us?' and my wife appreciates the fact that I don't have to climb the roof anymore!"
Vasquez is also a Purple Heart recipient and now travels across the state as a motivational speaker and veterans advocate.
To learn more about Lubbock Designscapes and the different services they offer, you can do so by clicking here or calling them at 806-686-2554.
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