ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Sixteen-year-old Cole Gedwillo has spent his evenings lately tinkering with the 50,000 lights he has installed on his Round Rock home, timing the lights out to more than 10 different songs — each taking him two days to program.
His parents used to put up lights for the holidays when Gedwillo was growing up, but over the last five years, he’s taken over his family display. For the last two years, he’s accepted donations for Helping Hands Basset Rescue, a local Basset hound rescue he’s volunteered at for years.
“If not for fundraising efforts of people like him, Helping Hands couldn’t save as many basset hounds as we do. I think there is a special place in heaven for people like him, who give without wanting anything back,” said Francye Hutchins, with Helping Hands. “His generosity exemplifies the true Christmas spirit – giving from one’s heart.”
For Gedwillo, the greatest joy is watching people drive past his holiday lights to watch.
“For some families, that’s what they need to get their holidays going is just something like this,” Gedwillo said. “To make them smile, and that’s what I do it for.”
Gedwillo begins preparing for this light display a year in advance. He started hand-making pieces for the display this spring, and began programming for songs over the summer.
He explained that most of his high school peers don’t know how much time it takes. “I tell them I do it, but I don’t think they realize how much actually goes into it,” he laughed. “I think of this as giving a community a gift before I give anyone else a gift.”
You can view the light display at 3430 Sandy Koufax Ln. in Round Rock from 5:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 5:15 p.m. to 11:30 p.m on weekends.