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Giant Christmas gift arrives for Mountain Shadows Residents

Giant Christmas gift arrives for Mountain Shadows Residents

When the Waldo Canyon Fire raced through the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, it destroyed a tree that many called a community Christmas tree.

The tree was planted in the front lawn of Carla Albers home on Ashton Park Place about two decades ago.

Every year, Albers said her husband would decorate it for Christmas.  The tree grew so tall, she said he created a special poll to be able to string lights on the top.

"We've had so many approach us that we didn't even know, tell us they loved the tree," said Albers.

So Albers and the nonprofit Colorado Springs Together along with members of the Wilson United Methodist Church came up with an idea to plant a new tree that would be decorated every Christmas.

On Friday, with a generous donation from the GESCO Nursery, a 30-foot-tall, 30-year-old concolor spruce was planted on the Wilson United Methodist Church property.

Mary Newman said she often drove by the Albers house and wanted to see the new tree being planted.  "Oh my it was such a beautiful thing, just meant so much to the neighborhood ... this (tree) just means we're coming back together," said Newman.

While Albers said it won't replace her lost tree, it will help the community heal from it's losses.

"We share as a community a sense of loss and now rebirth," said Albers.

Some of the original tree still remains, Albers said she plans to make a special bench out of the wood.

"We feel like it's meant to be," said the Rev. David Hiester.

Lights will be hung on the new tree next week.  An official tree lighting ceremony will take place on Nov. 30.

Colorado Springs Together was founded to help restore the Mountain Shadows and Peregrine areas affected by the fire.

Click here for more photos.

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