Volunteers brighten the holidays for resident at Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living by stringing lights on a 35-foot tree outside the facility. Courtesy photo/Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living

SCARBOROUGH — Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living received a gift like no other from Shawn and Bethany Barrett and East Coast Electric this year for Christmas, custom lighting of a 35-foot spruce tree in the front of their community, free of charge.

A surprise to the residents, they watched wide-eyed as the couple spent close to seven hours unfurling 1,100 feet of stringed lights, preparing a new and safe outlet, and using a bucket lift loaned by Sam Ngourn at East Coast Electric to decorate the tree for the first time, according to a Scarborough Terrace press release.

“After this tough year, I wanted to help do something special for our residents and associates,” said Angela Cartwright, life enrichment director for Scarborough Terrace, who had the idea to light the 35-foot spruce and assisted in the unfurling and stringing alongside the Barretts. “We were blown away that we received this much help. One resident came out to ask what we were doing and was moved to tears, and another who has a window facing the tree out front has raved about how beautiful it looks at night. This is a gift that our community will not forget.”

After the idea, Cartwright made some calls to family and friends hoping for references of those who could light one of the enormous trees surrounding the community, including Bethany Barrett whose husband Shawn works for East Coast Electric and who herself deeply enjoys decorating for the holidays, calling herself a Christmas fanatic. “My father did maintenance for a senior living community in Portland and every year he’d bring me and my two sisters to decorate, string lights, and spend time with the seniors,” Barrett said. “Of course, this year is different, and we could not go inside to meet the seniors at Scarborough Terrace, but being able to do this again as an adult feels like the best thing I’ve ever done.”

The tree itself is close to 35 feet tall and required a truck with a bucket lift to hoist Shawn high enough to string an estimated 3,000-plus lights. A truck as well as a day’s worth of time to complete the task was given by Sam Ngourn at East Coast Electric as “a Christmas present to Scarborough Terrace” free of any charge, seeing it as an important contribution to their community.

Shawn Barrett also safely set up electrical service where it did not exist before. He created a new outlet at the top of the light pole near the tree so that wires would not be lying on the pavement. “Shawn loves to go above and beyond to help people. We were both drawn to this opportunity as soon as we heard about it,” Bethany said.

“Our community typically decorates the buildings with a number of Christmas trees, but the lighting of a tree of this magnitude is certainly a first for us,” said David Sinclair, executive director of Scarborough Terrace. “You can feel a bit of magic seeing what the Barretts did with the instrumental and generous facilitation from Mr. Ngourn, and how much the residents love this tree. We feel so much gratitude for the Barretts, Mr. Ngourn, and the greater community this year.”

The Barretts said that if they are able next year, they “hands down would do it again” and Bethany would love to decorate Scarborough Terrace inside and out if she could. “The residents’ eyes got so bright seeing their tree. It would be great to sit down and get to know them in the future.”

Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living.

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