An Artist With Lights

by Jessica Cervantez

Anyone who drives through Rusk Street in Nacogdoches can't miss the large display of beautifully decorated lights. The house features a gingerbread house, a teddy bear, and lots of candy canes. But this year, those lights almost didn't make it up, and even with minimal use of his eyes, a Nacogdoches man was determined to get the street glowing.

Bert Rees is the mastermind behind it all, and while he seems healthy, Bert suffers from macular degeneration and is almost 90% blind. That is the reason there was talk of no lights this year.

But that's not stopping Bert. Even with poor sight, he is still an artist with lights.

Chay Runnels, Bert's daughter, said, "It is harder for him, but it's all a 100% him...we're just his worker bees, we're just his arms and eyes."

And while they've learned how to make candy canes out of p-v-c pipes, and snow out of styrofoam, they have learned the most important trick.

Runnels said, "I have learned what he says goes and that's the biggest trick of all."

The 76-year-old has been decorating since he was in college by decorating his parent's home. A tradition that gets bigger and better every year. It is also a tradition he does not think can stop.

Rees said, "We hope people like looking at it. It is fun to do and hope people get pleasure from it."

His meticulous designs and big ideas all come through with help of family.

Rees said, "We'll keep decorating every year, I can't do what I used to, but Chay won't let me quit."

And that is a good thing, because Bert's home is a holiday masterpiece that many people have come to look forward to seeing.