AMORY – A man who devotes time and energy to boosting Christmas spirit continued his efforts by planting Carolina sapphire cypress trees at local nursing homes to add to the landscape and to help cheer up residents.
Tony Dill, who dresses up as Santa Claus during the Christmas season, has a heart for elders and children alike. He’s known for providing fun and photo opportunities for kids in his red farm truck.
“The trees put out some beautiful color in the fall,” he said. “I want the trees to serve as a continual reminder to the residents that someone is thinking about them.”
River Place Nursing Center Social Services Director Anita Hardin said the gesture brought smiles to residents’ and employees’ faces.
“Our residents watched him dig the holes from their windows and were very excited that he was planting a tree that could be decorated for Christmas,” she said. “We are so blessed by Tony Dill, a.k.a. Santa. He has brought countless smiles to our residents and staff.”
Dill said that people from all three nursing homes told him that they will decorate the cypress trees for Christmas. He also plans to visit area nursing home residents at their windows wearing his red Santa hat and a tropical outfit for Christmas in July.
Dill said the cypress trees don’t honor anyone in particular.
“I just want this gesture to bless everyone there,” he said.
Oak Tree Manor Director Teresa Childers appreciates how Dill’s mission and work benefits the community.
“The residents love the new trees,” she said.
Diversicare Social Services Director Stephanie Collier is amazed at the diligence shown in putting in the trees.
“He is amazing. He gave specific instructions to us on the care and maintenance of the trees. It’s so uplifting for the patients. The trees reassure them that things will get back to normal and that they haven’t been forgotten about,” she said.