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Koosman uses Christmas lights display to raise money for Salvation Army

For any commuter driving north on state Highway 23 near Eagle Lake in past weeks, there was a glow, comparable to the lights of Las Vegas, visible across to the lake's east side.

Located near the intersection of Kandiyohi County roads 9 and 26, Chad Koosman of Willmar has turned his home into a spectacle of Christmas lights and sounds for the last few holiday seasons.

But 2008 was a little different. This year, he doubled his amount of lights from 2007 and is using his display to provide help for the needy.

Looking to assist the Salvation Army, Koosman situated a Salvation Army kettle underneath a homemade evergreen tree light display for holiday sightseers to put donations in while viewing his lights. Owner of Turbo-Turf Irrigation in Willmar, Koosman even managed to persuade nine local construction and service companies to match the Salvation Army donations he gained during nine different days of the holiday season. The business matching, Koosman said, helped raise an additional $4,850 for the Salvation Army.

For next year, Koosman said he hopes to double his amount of lights and have 20 local businesses match his daily donations. The increase in lights, he said, could force him to add an additional electric service panel to his home. Koosman said he also is planning to start a Christmas décor division to his business.

Koosman will keep his lights on for viewers until Jan. 10 and is looking for volunteers to help take them down.