The Honorably Retired Rev. Ian Stirrat holds a teddy bear in honor of kids. He has put a heart in his window and lit up his Christmas decorations again to uplift others during COVID-19. He encourages others to decorate and put out lights, particularly green ones signifying life, during this time.

BELOIT—The Honorably Retired Rev. Ian Stirrat is encouraging people to put up lights, especially green ones in honor of life, to uplift neighbors during this challenging time of COVID-19.

It was a perfect solution for Stirrat, 79, who still had some of his Christmas lights left on the gutters and front porch of his house at 3129 Park Ave.

“I lit my lights as a symbol of hope in the midst of all this distress we are hearing,” Stirrat said.

Stirrat also put a heart in his window, something which is catching up with the neighbors. He put a little teddy bear in the window to cheer kids up. He already had two green lights lit up by his door in honor of two of his late brothers birthdays in April.

“Green bulbs are a symbol of life,” Stirrat said.

Stirrat passed the idea on to some neighbors, members of Sun Valley Presbyterian Church where he was pastor for 30 years and the Garden Village Subdivision.

Slowly, Beloit is starting to light up.

“Some neighbors have put hearts in their windows. Another neighbor said to put a teddy bear in the window for kids going on walks to see,” he said.

Stirrat said he’s been keeping active despite the state’s shelter in place order. His kids and grandchildren don’t come in the house but have stopped by the porch for a visit.

He’s made a couple food runs including going to get some eggs for sale at a farm and takes walks with his black cocker spaniel named Nessie. To keep busy, he’s been cleaning our drawers, organizing his lighthouse and cross collections and cutting out recipes to organize.

He enjoys cooking, making beef vegetable soup the other day. On St. Patrick’s Day he had corn beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes and one Guinness beer.

He’s also been trying to encourage others while staying safe.

“I’ve been checking in on people via phone and sent out at least 10 letters in the past few days,” he said.

His advice is for people to “Stay in, wash your hands and keep up your spirits. If you can’t get out, stay busy.”