Outer Banks couple lights up the night to spread message of hope amid pandemic

Published 3:57 pm Saturday, March 21, 2020

Sometimes you have to make your own light in dark times.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, people around the world have been working to spread positivity and hope amidst this pandemic. Many took to social media, posting inspiring quotes, light-hearted videos and photos of the things that make them smile.

Ava Bouker, daughter-in-law to Carla and Paul Borzellino, saw several photos in particular on social media that she knew would be the perfect “beacon of hope” for the Outer Banks community.

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“It’s kind of interesting, because we were delayed in getting them down,” Paul told The Coastland Times, referring to his spectacular Christmas light display.

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The Borzellinos’ “Corona Lights” are located on 7th Ave. in Southern Shores. Paul Borzellino photo

The Borzellino house is a community gathering spot during Christmas time. Paul and Carla start working on their display in the fall, placing inflatables in their pool, setting up an extensive Christmas village on their outdoor patio and covering every inch of their house in bright lights.

“We’ve joked about putting them up in July,” Carla said, “but never in March.” Carla became sick right after the 2019 Christmas season ended; the couple had to make several trips to and from the hospital during January and February. This delayed the Borzellino’s in taking down all their decorations.

After learning about the virus and realizing that she and Paul were in the high-risk category, Carla said she began to feel isolated from her family. “It’s hard not getting to be with our family because they are trying to protect us . . . it left us feeling a little bit lonely,” Carla said.

Once Bouker shared the story of other houses around the country turning their Christmas lights back on to spread a positive message, the Borzellinos wanted to do the same.

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Paul and Carla Borzellino hope to spread a message of hope and healing through their mid-March Christmas display. Paul Borzellino photo

“It gives us something we can do to help our community and feel better ourselves,” Carla explained. Paul said he never thought he would be putting Christmas lights up while mosquitos were out. “One of the funny things compared to Christmas time is that it’s 75 degrees; it feels very strange,” Paul said.

But Carla made a good point: “We’re all feeling weird right now.” She said while everything still feels the same, everything feels very different at the same time. Everyone seems to be going through some sort of transition at this moment in our lives.

Paul decided to name his mid-March Christmas display “Corona Lights: A message of hope and healing.” Carla said she wanted people to experience that “magical” feeling again and remember all the good times people had in their lives. Christmas has always been a time to spread cheer; through their display, Paul and Carla hope to do the same.

For anyone wishing to drive by the Brozellino residence and view their “beacon of hope,” the house is located on 7th Ave. in Southern Shores. “We are hoping that people will drive by and feel free to get pictures, but keep social distance,” Paul said. For more information, e-mail Paul at paul.borz@gmail.com.

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