Veteran goes from fighting in Iraq to bringing joy with holiday lights

By Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
An example of the holiday lighting done by Veterans Holiday Lights

Michael Omohundro, of Sherman, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2002-2006. Now, he runs Veterans Roofing Company throughout most of the year, but during the holiday season, he and his helpers take on a more seasonal task.

Veteran's Holiday Lights was born five years ago.

During his military service, Omohundro worked in amphibious assault vehicles in the Marines, was stationed out of 29 Palms in California and deployed to Iraq for the 2003 invasion. But when he came home, he looked up to friends who were in the roofing industry and thought that was a good line of work. He joined the industry in 2017. 

An example of the lighting displays done by Veterans Holiday Lights

About five years ago, Omohundro was talking to a friend in Oklahoma City who also had a roofing company. That friend had added Christmas light installation to his company. Omohundro had been trying to come up with ways to keep his crew busy in the off season. So, he brought the idea to Texoma.

"I thought we'd try it since I am not afraid of heights and we have all of the equipment to get it done," he said.

He started small with a few jobs and gradually, the service grew. 

An example of the lighting work done by Veterans Holiday Lights

It has grown so much that he said they run out of time every year before they can get around to everyone who wants them to put up their lights.

But VHL doesn't just hang the lights the homeowner already has.

"We cut everything to fit your home. It's all commercial grade LED lighting, there's no overhang," he said.

An example of the type of lighting display done by Veterans Holiday Lights

Once the lights are up, VHL comes back out to fix them if they go out during the season. Then when the season is over, he said they come back out, take them off the house and take them away to store them for next year. Customers who want to do it again next year get a 20 percent discount on that year's project because they can use the same lights.

Folks hire him for a lot or reasons. Some are older and don't want to mess with the idea of climbing ladders anymore for health reasons. Others are busy and don't want to deal with putting the lights up or taking them down, but like to see their home decorated for the holiday season, he said. 

The lighting that VHL puts up are not smart lights that play music or do any sort of fancy stuff — just plain steady on or twinkle lights. But they  fit the house, he said, like  glove. He has several colors to choose from. He uses other veterans on his crew when possible.

An example of the lighting done by Veterans Holiday Lights

Louis Welch, of Sherman, has used the service for a number of years.

"I have a steep roof on my house and I am scared of heights," Welch said and laughed. He said he also liked that Veterans comes out and takes the lights down and stores them for him every year so he doesn't have to hassle with it. 

"Each year I can add on to what I have and they will swap out colors if we decide we want to go with a different color each year," he said.