When a community comes together to show love and support for their own, it is truly heartwarming.
With Christmas just around the corner, a community in Durham, Omaha, has done just that to memorialize and remember two sisters that died in 2010 in a crash on Nebraska’s Highway 2, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
To remember the girls this year, atop the Durham Museum’s Christmas tree sits two angels, rather than one, representing the two fallen girls, Taylor Podraza, 10, and Jordyn Podraza, 12.
Kelly Incontro, mother of the two girls and wife to the girls’ father Jeff, who also passed away in the crash, donated the 50-foot tree to the museum after it grew from a seedling by a former resident of her home in the early 70s.
“When the museum told us they would be placing two angels on top of the tree to represent the girls, we were very happy,” Incontro told the Omaha World-Herald. “That’s what will make this so fitting for Christmas at Union Station.”
Union Pacific Railroad employees cut down the tree in November on a snowy day in front of the Incontros’ rental home. Both students and teachers from Norris Middle School came to watch the affair that took about an hour to complete.
Incontro told the Omaha World-Herald it was a festive event that both her daughters would have enjoyed.
“Last night, I asked, ‘How cool would it be if it snowed?’ because the girls loved snow,” Incontro told the Omaha World-Herald. “My girls, my two guardian angels, didn’t let me down.”
The Christmas tree was moved to the Durham Museum on 10th street, where it was decorated the day after Thanksgiving by a team of workers from Mangelsen’s. The tree was adorned with 12,000 lights and hundreds of large ornaments to make it a truly special symbol for the community and girls.
Incontro told the Omaha World-Herald that she was thinking of her daughters when she contacted the museum to donate the tree. She and her husband Jay give back to the community regularly to honor her daughters.
“We keep their memories alive through athletic and academic scholarships as well as donations,” Incontro told the Omaha World-Herald. “I just want people to keep remembering Jordyn and Taylor.”
Incontro also keeps the memory of her daughters alive by meeting with many of their friends at St. Wenceslaus Catholic School. Here, Incontro and Jay talk with members of the community, go to lunch on Mother’s Day with their friends and celebrate her daughters’ birthdays.
“We’re excited about getting together with a lot of our friends and family around the tree in the museum,” Jay said. “It’s going to be very special.”
Donating the 50-foot spruce tree was a natural for the Incontros, as Christmas was the girls’ favorite time of year.
“When we do turn on the lights for the tree, it will be like my girls walking into a room,” Incontro said. “They absolutely lit up any room they went into with their personalities.”
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