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Christmas Display A Shining Symbol Of Recovery In Rowlett

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ROWLETT (CBSDFW.COM) - Bright lights, inflatable characters, and various Santas cover almost every inch of Mike DeLatte's front lawn, in the 8500 block of Linda Vista Drive in Rowlett.

The neighbors are used to his elaborate displays, but weren't expecting so much this year.

Rowlett lights 2
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

DeLatte's home, like so many others in his neighborhood, was in the path of one of the tornadoes that touched down the day after Christmas last year.

"My house was heavily damaged. This was gone!" he said, gesturing to his display.  "We found things as far as a mile away."

Anita Crawford remembers seeing the neighborhood in the days after the storm. "It's hard to believe it was so bad just a year ago," she said.

DeLatte had his home gutted and rebuilt. When he moved back in May he was already collecting decorations for this year's Christmas. Fortunately, insurance  covered the cost to replace the elaborate display.

Rowlett lights 3
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

"I see no reason not to continue this," he said. "It's my Christmas present to the neighborhood."

With some neighbors still struggling to recover last years storms, the lights and characters are a welcome sign of what's possible. "To see somebody come back like this and decorate and have that kind of spirit is awesome," said Crawford.

Alisa McKinley, who lives nearby, has visited four times already. "We love coming by to see it. It brightens our day."

The house brings a smile to her face -- just as it was meant to.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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