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Vandals destroy sick Zebulon child's Christmas decorations

Posted December 3, 2009
Updated December 5, 2009

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— Decorating their front yard for the holidays has become a tradition for the Benoits.

The family decorates the front yard of their home along N.C. Highway 97 in Zebulon each year for their 2-year-old son, Ethan, who suffers from a rare bone disease.

“They didn’t expect him to see his first birthday and he’s still here,” Ethan’s mother, Sheree Benoit, said.

Each year Ethan beats the odds, the Benoits celebrate by turning their front yard into a Winter Wonderland.

Vandals destroy sick Zebulon childs holiday decorations Franklin deputies help family decorate for holidays

Family members said Ethan loves to watch the lights and listen to the music so they saved money to purchase an inflatable Winnie the Pooh and Grinch for the lawn this year. Ethan will turn 3-years-old on Dec. 21.

On Tuesday night, the Benoits put up the new decorations so they could surprise Ethan in the morning. That night, vandals slashed the inflatable characters.

“They’re destroying a handicapped child’s decorations. What kind of person would do that to somebody?” Sheree Benoit said.

When the Benoits filed the police report, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office decided to help the family. Deputies collected donations and found the same inflatable characters plus four more to decorate the Benoit’s yard.

“This office loves this community and everybody in this community and we try our best to help everybody,” Franklin County Sheriff’s Office First Sgt. Dwayne Collins said.

On Thursday, deputies delivered the decorations and helped install them.

The Benoit family has struggled financially in recent years.

Last month, the Make a Wish Foundation supplied the family with a TV, new beds and a recliner chair for Ethan.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • 1trhl Dec 4, 2009

    I saw that the news article has a link to to the website to make charitible donations for the child and sign a petition for a ABC home makeover for the family. Maybe WRAL could help publicize the efforts. It would be nice.

  • anastasia Dec 3, 2009

    Let's hope somebody donates a video camera for outside, so this doesn't happen again.

  • mstan Dec 3, 2009

    Terrible, kids can be so stupid sometimes. I remember when I was younger, kids thought it was cool to steal the baby Jesus from the manger, things like that. Dumb, dumb.

  • Kattails Dec 3, 2009

    They should slash the vandals that did this and see how they feel. Awesome act of kindness by the sheriff's dept!!

  • hiyadun Dec 3, 2009

    How can people be so cruel. I am glad the officers have opened their heart to this family. God bless them and the child.

  • ncsu91938 Dec 3, 2009

    My hat's off to those officers. Wish they could catch the Scrooges that did this. Thoughts and prayers go to the Benoit family and their son.

  • Doctor Dataclerk Dec 3, 2009

    Great Job by the police department. Call Blackwater to take care of the vandals.

  • lost in translation Dec 3, 2009

    Great job on behalf of the Police.....the Grinch stole Christmas but the Police made sure it came back.

  • justafella Dec 3, 2009

    Thats called community Christmas spirit, hat's off to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, thanks youin's.

  • cocker_mom Dec 3, 2009

    very kind - that is one inspriing family and it's great to hear that Ethan is still at home and heading towards 3 years old!

    Kudos to the Sheriff's department, too. Very nice.