By VASHTI HARRIS
HELMETTA — After months of hard work, hours of dedication and thousands of Christmas lights, the numbers are in: Bill and Ryan Kloos presented a check for $10,500 and a customized toy car to a young boy who is special to them.
This past Christmas season, the Kloos brothers embarked on a journey to not only spread holiday cheer in their East Brunswick neighborhood, but to also raise money for Trent Powers, a 2-year-old boy from Helmetta who is afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Every year the Kloos family puts on an extensive Christmas lights show to raise money for a local charity. This past year, the Kloos family garnered national attention when Bill and Ryan Kloos competed in a nationally televised Christmas lights competition show.
Although they did not win the competition, Bill Kloos said it was really cool to be on the show and a lot of fun to film.
“We were happy that we were on it, regardless if we win or lose. Our goal is to raise $15,000 (for Trent). [We] were hoping that with this extra exposure we can raise the money for Trent.
“This season our crowd turnout and community support of our light show was outstanding. We continue to put on this display each year for two reasons: [First] because the joy it brings to the whole community and the upwards of an estimated 50,000 visitors that came this year. The second reason is because the light show is not about us, but actually helping others,” he said.
At the Helmetta Borough Council meeting on Jan. 4, Bill and Ryan Kloos presented Trent’s parents, Kimberly and Trevor Powers, with a $10,500 check and also gave Trent a customized toy car with the Kloos Family Lights logo on the side door.
“We first met Trent in November when researching different causes for our light show to benefit this season. While we explored other causes, we kept remembering Trent’s smiling face and we knew it was a great fit. Trent’s family was an amazing help this year. They were the first to volunteer and gladly helped when needed,” Bill Kloos said.
When presenting the Powers family with the check and Trent’s gift, residents, council members and Helmetta Mayor Chris Slavicek applauded.
“There really are no words that can describe the kindness put forth by these two brilliant young men. They have a true passion for helping others in the most humbling manner. It’s simply incredible how they utilize their talents to ‘light up’ the lives of those in need. [Personally], Bill and Ryan are inspirations to me and I plan to wholeheartedly support their endeavor year after year,” Slavicek said.
Upon first learning about Trent’s diagnosis, Kimberly and Trevor Powers started Powers Promise to promote awareness, educate others and partner with DMD organizations to help find a cure, according to the Trent Powers Go Fund Me page.
“The Kloos brothers have been a blessing to our family from the day we met them. These incredible young men have such a passion for helping others — it’s truly inspiring. They approached us about raising funds for Trent this holiday season and little did we know that they would bring us so much joy,” Kimberly Powers said.
“The boys worked tirelessly to raise awareness and encourage donations all while spreading holiday cheer to all those who visited the lights display. Bill and Ryan have touched our lives in such a positive way that reaches far beyond a monetary donation. We joke that the Powers family is now officially part of the Kloos Family Lights, and we look forward to helping them with their future causes and continuing to visit their display year after year.
“We can’t thank them enough for the love they have shown Trent and for the awareness they brought to DMD — these boys are truly one of a kind,” she continued.
Bill Kloos said the whole experience has built an amazing relationship between both families.
“My brother and I treat and play with Trent like a little brother, and we get along great with his parents, too. We brought him a Christmas gift on Christmas, we bring him into play with our dog, and we love watching him drive around his matching Kloos Family Lights car. We try to make him smile whenever we can and will stand by his side in the future as this is just the beginning of our relationship,” he said.
Bill Kloos said it was incumbent to thank former East Brunswick Mayor Kevin T. McEvoy, the East Brunswick Police Department and Slavicek for their support.
“Kloos Family Lights would not be possible without these people, and we appreciate them very much,” he said.
For more information about Trent’s story, visit powerspromise.org.
Contact Vashti Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.