Local News

Vandals destroy sick Zebulon child's Christmas decorations

Posted December 3, 2009 5:15 p.m. EST
Updated December 5, 2009 1:15 p.m. EST

— 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.

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.