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Family gets reminder in 16-foot reindeer

Updated: Tuesday, December 24 2013, 08:39 PM EST

By Jennifer Black


If you drive along the streets of Toronto, Ohio this time of year, you are sure to find homes decked with garland, wreaths and lights, but if you round the bend on Josephine Street, you might be surprised when you stumble upon a 16-foot-tall reindeer in Tresa Ward's front yard.

“The neighbors love it.  They say, ‘Is it time to put the reindeer up yet?  Call me if you need help.  We'll help you put the reindeer up,’” Tresa said.

The Christmas decoration, resulting from  months of dedication from Tresa's late husband. Charlie Ward crafted the statue in his final years of life, while battling lung cancer.

“He started it in May 2010, and he didn't finish it until September.  It took him all summer long,” Tresa said.  “Of course he needed to wear his mask and stuff because of the sawdust, because he was going through chemo."

Now standing tall for the second year, since Charlie passed, the deer serves as a fond reminder for Tresa and daughter, Charlyn.

“Whenever you come out here, and you see the reindeer, I kinda see my dad in the reindeer, it's nice seeing it out in the yard,” Charlyn said.

The statue is wired to the ground, but that was not enough to keep it from toppling over during heavy winds Saturday night.  The structure lost an antler.

“It fell between 2-2:30 a.m., so I was out here in my PJs and boots seeing how bad the damage was.  The neighbors came yesterday and helped me pick it back up, " Tresa said.

This summer, Tresa and Charlyn will follow in their father’s footsteps and make a new antler for “Sparky.”  The name, given by Ward’s niece, who is just another person touched by the man who set out to live larger than life. 

“I still feel like I have a part of him, for the holidays,” Tresa said.

Family gets reminder in 16-foot reindeer

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