Lights Shining Bright Over Simpson

SIMPSON, Pa. -- Each Christmas and Easter, high above Simpson in Fell Township, hundreds of lights illuminate a star or cross. It's been a staple in the community for nearly 50 years.

"I remember being a kid looking out the bathroom window, the highest room in our house, every night right before Christmastime, waiting for it to be lit, me and my brothers," recalled Fell Township supervisor Andy Gorel.

About three years ago, the community decided to change the traditional white lights on the cross to green for Veterans Day, keeping it illuminated throughout the weekend.

Each year over 200 bulbs had to be changed by hand.

"Imagine being 50 feet up in the air in November, in the wind and the cold, in a wobbly lift next to a wobbly structure. It was a pain," Gorel said.

It was designed back in 1969 by Stan Yavoroski but the structure needed repairs, including an easier way to change out the bulbs. That's when Yavoroski's son Stan Jr., an electrical engineer near Philadelphia, stepped in, designing a better way to light the structure and adding entirely new lightbulbs.

"We were looking all over for someone to kind of come up with the idea of being able to change these bulbs' colors without physically changing them by hand. Stan designed the bulbs, created the bulbs, ordered the bulbs, paid for the bulbs, and also created a remote control. So now we can change both the star and the cross red, blue, white, and green," said Simpson Redevelopment treasurer Joe Scotchlas.

While the structure has already seen a new renovation this year, that's just the beginning. They're hoping to sandblast and paint the structure next year so it looks brand new.

"It's great for the town, it's great for the community. It's a sense of pride again. It's been happening for 50 years for both the Christmas and Easter holidays and now for the Veterans holiday, so it gives us a sense of belonging, a sense of our old roots," Scotchlas said.

It'll cost around $30,000 for all the repairs.

The green cross will begin glowing on Saturday.

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