VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — In the Bay Indies Resort Community, a park at the center is dedicated to honoring military veterans. This Christmas, the local veterans club had a new idea: put up a Christmas tree and hang dog tags on the branches, each with the name of a veteran someone wanted to honor.
“Everybody loves it,” says Nick Casalinuovo.
But on Monday morning, they awoke to find the tree stolen.
“Not a nice thing to do. Especially to the veterans of this park,” he added.
Veterans like Ron Farwell, who served 21 years in the Air Force, live in the neighborhood.
“It was totally unreal. I was sitting out there having my morning coffee and the police are showing up and I realized what was going on,” Farwell said.
The Venice Police Department showed up to take a report on the theft but decided to go even further beyond the call of duty.
“All the police, when they found out about it, were so upset that they chipped in and bought the tree and replaced it. All within two hours. It is amazing,” Casalinuovo added.
The tree is now back up in the park, but with no dog tags just yet. They say they are thrilled to have the tree back up so quickly after the original was stolen.
“I mean that’s outstanding. You can’t ask for better people than that,” Farwell said.