By Katina Caraganis
TOWNSEND -- Deb Kalil said words cannot describe the amount of support, financial and otherwise, she has received since news broke last month that the decorations she showcased on the South Street Bridge were vandalized.
Kalil, who has lived in town for years, decorated the bridge with festive wreaths and red bows. Most recently, she had hung 50-pound flower baskets with purple, yellow, and pink pansies and a sign that said "Be Grateful."
What had started as a way to show pride in her community turned into disappointment when she realized the bridge had been vandalized, the flower pots dumped into Townsend Harbor, and the sign missing.
"I actually jumped out of a moving car when I saw what had happened. I was so upset. I really didn't even think that somebody would try and destroy it. I didn't see the point of it. I think it was a senseless, immature act. That's what it comes down to," she said.
But thanks to the generous donations of community members near and far, Kalil has garnered enough support to redecorate the bridge with new flowers and a new sign that asks people to "Just Be Nice" and a newfound love for her community.
"I got a large donation from someone in Lowell who saw the story. They told me not to let one act of vandalism rain on my parade ... People want to see goodness. They see so much negative in the world, they want to see something positive. It made me feel good that people thought
She said that while she's still disappointed that anyone would ruin the decorations, she's glad to see there are people out there who care.
"The community has just come together, and I can't believe how many people have gone across that bridge and have been affected by the mantra and just enjoyed looking at the beauty of that area," she said.
Police Lt. David Profit said Friday that no arrests have been made. But police do have a person of interest.
He said the person, who has not been identified because he is a minor and has not been charged, may have worked alone, but he said whether there were other people involved is still a part of the active investigation.
"I know Chief (Erving) Marshall has been talking to a lot of people involved in this," Profit said Friday afternoon. "I was absolutely livid. I was saddened that someone would do that, but I guess it comes with being able to see the beauty in things and appreciate when other people do things to be nice. It's frustrating to see things like that happen."
Profit said if and when an arrest is made, the suspect will most likely be charged with destruction of property.