Thursday, April 23rd 2020, 3:08 pm - Haligonians build a huge heart to send a message to frontline workers
For the past 20 years, Ed Mchugh has been putting what he describes as "a little ugly but pretty Christmas tree" at the back of his property which sits on a cliff in Bedford, Nova Scotia. The edge borders on Highway 102, one of the main routes in and out of the city of Halifax.
"We decorate him with lights and we call him Charlie," McHugh explained. "And he's been out there for twenty years greeting people as they drive by and just wishing them the best of the season."
When COVID-19 hit, he got a call from his good friend Ross Lloy
"Ross said, ‘why don't we light Charlie?’, and I said 'listen, I'm all for anyone lighting Christmas lights this time of year, but to me, it just doesn't feel right,’" McHugh recalled.
That's when the two hatched a plan to build a huge heart that could glow red during the night to, in his words, send out a pulse to front line workers still out there driving to work, as a way to say thank you.
McHugh said the response to the heart has been overwhelming and humbling.
"In these dire times, anything that any of us can do to brighten any day a little bit -- I think that's what we all aspire for," he added.
The recent events that transpired in Portapique called for yet another change to the display.
"We're just gutted," said McHugh. "What happened over the weekend here is so tragic and so sad that we went out last night and we reconstructed Valery. We called the heart Valery, by the way, because it means strength, and courage, and we added a Nova Scotia flag with a spotlight to Valery so now when you drive the cliff during the day you see the white heart with the Nova Scotia flag wrapped to the side of it and at night you see the same thing. It's just our way to say, you know what, we're in this together, whether it's the virus or whether it's the tragic circumstances. So we're all in this together and there will be an end for some of us, but for some of the families impacted this will never end."
Be sure to watch the video that leads this article for more on this inspiring story.