Community Builders: Midlands man shines on community through Elgin Lights

ELGIN, SC (WIS) - In spite of battling cancer, every Christmas one Midlands man works to put up a spectacular light show in Elgin.

This year, Paul Towns' Elgin home has more than 40,000 lights, five buildings filled with displays, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit.

"We run 50 people at a time and it takes about 5 minutes," said Towns.

The whole experience is free thanks to Paul and his family, who started decking out their home around Nov. 1 for a bigger purpose.

"We started donating to Camp Kemo in 2004," Towns said. "That was the year I found out I had cancer."

That was also the year 11-year-old Cole Sawyer of Elgin died from a rare form of cancer. Inspired by his fight, Towns wanted Cole's legacy to live on.

"We said we're going to keep Cole's dream alive by sending kids to camp in his name," Towns said.

Last year the Towns family collected enough donations to send more children to camp than ever before.

"We sent 14 kids to camp," said Towns. "Matter of fact, we sent Richard Culliver, and that was his first year to go to camp and then he passed away this summer."

Towns is determined to continue to give children with cancer more opportunities, all while facing his own battle with Lymphoma. In the midst of treatments now, he says the lights keep him going.

"When I get out here and see all the little children with their eyes all bugged out, and smiling and happy, it just makes me feel good that I'm bringing families together," Towns said.

Towns' perseverance and heart led those who know him to nominate him as a Community Builder, and the last thing Towns expected during his interview with WIS was to be surprised by Mungo Homes.

"Now this is a surprise!" Towns said.

It was fitting for a man who's used to putting smiles on the faces of an entire community every Christmas.

As a Community Builder, Paul will receive a $1,000 donation from the Michael J. Mungo foundation to the charity of his choice.

Elgin Lights has been open for the past 17 years. This year it is open at 2433 Charlie Horse Circle in Elgin from now until Dec. 24. If you would like more information visit

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