Entire Town Gives Boy With Cancer Early Christmas

10:48 AM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
Crowds chanting Devin Kohlman's name could be seen from the window of Alexis Kohlman's Second Street home. The boy was welcomed home from a Cincinnati hospital late Sunday night. / Catharine Hadley | News Herald
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PORT CLINTON, Ohio (PortClintonNewsHerald.com) -- Christmas came early for Devin Kohlman.

Kohlman, who is an eighth-grader at Port Clinton Middle School, has been battling an aggressive form of cancer. Sunday night, he returned from a Cincinnati hospital and was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers and a parade of emergency vehicles from several local agencies.

He had said he wanted to return home for Christmas - which was Monday at the corner of Second and Adams Street.

That morning, volunteers gathered to decorate Adams Street Park and the gazebo with Christmas decorations, which Devin could see from the window of his mother's Second Street residence.

"There must have been 30 people there," Port Clinton Safety-Service Director Tracy Colston said.

City employees put up a tall Christmas tree in the south end of park, where Devin can easily see it. The decorations, including a star with the words "Merry Christmas Devin" face the southwest, the direction of his window.

"That's one we just cut down and put up today. Somebody donated it," Colston said as he pointed toward the tree.

"Somebody" is also known as "Mayor Vince Leone," who had the tree cut from one of his properties. Leone, who has challenges getting around due to recent surgery on his ankle, supervised the holiday preparations at the park Monday afternoon.

City employees trimmed a gingko tree on the corner of Second and Adams streets, to make sure the line of sight between the boy's window and the Christmas tree is clearn.

Colston said volunteers spent the afternoon lighting and decorating the tree. "We had some decorations, but people brought some," he said. "It brings tears to my eyes."

The block of Second Street was closed between Adams and Jefferson streets after 5 p.m. Monday, for a Christmas celebration for Devin. Hundreds of people, many wearing Santa hats and other holiday gear, sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Jingle Bells," "Deck the Halls," "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and other Christmas carols.

Some volunteers served donated donuts, cookies, cider and hot cocoa. The crowd cheered as balloons were released.

"This is what makes Port Clinton so great," Mayor Leone said.

Alexis Kohlman's apartment has a bay window, with enough room for Devin's hospital bed to be situated so he could see the street.

The apartment was already decorated, with a tree in one corner of the living room.

Devin said the holiday party made him happy.

The crowd, and those inside the apartment, paused for a moment of prayer.

Once the festivities resumed, they were interrupted by a rumble - the sound of Santa and an elf, along with several other members of the Lost Riders motorcycle club, who came to the party.

Devin was delighted.

"Hey, you guys, Santa Claus on a motorcycle got the biggest smile I've seen in a while," Alexis Kohlman called out the window to the crowd.

Not long afterward, Santa and his assistants made a special visit, and Santa made a special Christmas promise.

"You'll be the one who gets the moon this year," he told Devin.

Written by: Catharine Hadley

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