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Festival of Trees underway in Sandy

(KSL TV)


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SANDY — The 2013 Festival of Trees began Wednesday at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy with the proceeds of every tree sold going toward the benefit of kids at Primary Children's Hospital.

Every tree on display during the festival has its own story. Monday night, KSL aired the story of a tree decorated in honor of Sgt. Derek Johnson, a police officer killed in the line of duty.

There are some special details to the design of the tree — ornaments wrapped in the ribbons fellow officers wore to his funeral and dozens of challenge coins sent in by police, fire and military personnel from around the country.

After the story aired the tree was purchased by an anonymous buyer, who then gifted it right back to the Johnson family. The Johnson family was moved by the gesture of the anonymous buyer to give them back the tree after it was bought. Because they truly wanted to give the tree to the community as a ‘thank you', they have since donated the Festival of Trees entry to Draper City, where the tree is on display at the police department.

The Johnson family plans on giving the present under the tree, which includes various gift certificates, to individuals or organizations in need.

As for the Power Wheels car that was customized to be a Draper City police cruiser, the family is going to give it to Sergeant Derek Johnson's son, Ben. After seeing the car for the first time, Ben said that's what he would like for Christmas.

The Johnson family is grateful for the community's support and has enjoyed this opportunity to ‘pay it forward' for the holidays.

The Festival of Trees runs Dec. 4-7 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, or $15 total for a family.

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Brooke Walker

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