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A single green light bulb among the white tree lights offers hope and renewal to veterans

The color green represents hope, renewal and well-being.

That's the message City of Madras leaders want to share with military veterans – that there is hope, renewal and well-being for veterans returning to civilian life – aspects that can be challenging to them.

"We want veterans to know we recognize their important contributions and 'greenlight' them forward as valued members of our community," city leaders said.

The City of Madras has joined the national Greenlight a Vet campaign, which establishes a visible national support for veterans by changing one light to green.

Christmas Lights R Us owner Brennan Morrow and his crew installed the small green light bulbs in 92 trees in downtown Madras just before Memorial Day weekend.

"One of the white lights was replaced with a green light in every tree, so if you drive down the corridor, you'll see this simple little bit of a twinkle of green as you're looking at all our brilliant lights," Morrow said.

The Walmart-backed Veterans Welcome Home Commitment launched Greenlight a Vet in 2013. The campaign creates awareness for veterans, who often become more camouflaged than ever once returning home. The organization works to make this transition easier and more rewarding for veterans.

Supporters of veterans and their families change a single visible light bulb in their home or workplace to a green bulb. Others make the green lights part of their Christmas displays.

Morrow first learned about the campaign when his son joined the U.S. Army a few years ago. A friend knew about Greenlight a Vet and had a green light installed at the peak of his Christmas lights display in his honor.

"It rocked my world," Morrow said of the campaign.

Being in the Christmas lights business, Morrow contacted his customers, asking if they would like to Greenlight a Vet.

"We had an overwhelming amount of people – hundreds of customers – wanted to put a green light in their peak or somewhere special in their array," he recalled. "We saw that it was a really neat way to share that support, and it's been growing in momentum ever since."

Christmas Lights R Us puts up all the Christmas lights in the downtown Madras corridor for the city. Recently, Morrow approached Madras city leaders, asking if they'd like to participate in Greenlight a Vet.

They gave him the greenlight, paying for labor to install one small green light in each of the 92 trees. Morrow donated the green bulbs. The green lights will stay up rear-round with the white lights.

City leaders and Morrow want the message to be clear – Madras supports veterans.

"This is just one more way to say that Madras is a safe place for you if you're a veteran – we believe in you," Morrow said. "That's what the Greenlight project has done. It's helped to reach out and to show very sublimely without any big to-do that somebody is supporting a veteran, that you're good here."


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