A Grinch-Like Story Has a Happy Ending

December 14, 2011 Updated Dec 14, 2011 at 1:53 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

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December 14, 2011 Updated Dec 14, 2011 at 1:53 PM EDT


Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - It's a park dedicated to those who fought for freedom and veterans decorated it for the holidays. Then, these men say their holiday spirit was literally stolen from under them.

"I thought certain things would be sacred and people would leave them alone and not mess with something what represents what we're trying to protect," Veteran John Gorski said.

Veteran Dan Derfert started the park program.

"It's like in our face. We got slapped for doing a good thing," Derfert said.

All the their colorful flood lights and extension cords were ripped out of the socket at Houghton Park in South Buffalo and stolen. They said one night the lights were just gone.

"It put a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Stealing from a veteran, why? If it was taken off a house or something fine and dandy but this belongs to everyone," Derfert said.

The people at the park on Wednesday said when something like this happens, it's not only the veterans that are hurt.

"I feel like they are disrespecting all the families who are suffering and lost somebody. I don't care for it. I was brought up to respect veterans," Veteran Peter P. Linkowski said.

Now, Senator Tim Kennedy and the B-Team, a group of youth leaders, worked to get redecorate the monuments and bring the holiday spirit back to the vets and the surrounding community.

"We wanted to repay community by donating all the lights that were stolen," Senator Kennedy said.

Matt Carlucci with the B-Team agrees.

"It kind of broke all of our hearts because it was not only stealing from a park but a veterans memorial park is beyond ridiculous so it seemed like a no brainer that we should help this group out," Carlucci said.

The vets said they are not pursuing legal action but authorities said the will be patrolling the area closely.

The vets also said it's not about the lights but it's about respecting a space that represents past present and future men and woman who have sacrificed for the freedom we all share this holiday season.