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Published December 23rd, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas: Local couple builds a village,
holds to tradition and brings new meaning to ‘family’

By Michelle Hermann

Christmas becomes a multi-level big deal for a lot of folks. There is love for family members and celebrating the joy they bring into your life. There are traditions as well, some don’t really have a beginning and some are deep-rooted in faith.
This is the story of a local couple whose love for each other and a love for Christmas traditions sparked a growing creation spanning 18 years and all the available space of several living rooms.
It also includes faith based traditions for the 12-days of Christmas, common to the Catholic Church and it appreciates the caring and concern of extended family.
Neither Walter or his wife Cindy had any idea they would amass the over 250 individual pieces making up the mostly hand-made Christmas village which spans one end of the couple’s living room at their current residence in the Desert Greens community on Wilson Road.
The first tradition, which began with a train set up at the base of the couple’s Christmas tree, now has  several houses, shops, train stations, train cars, roads and vehicles, landscaping shrubs, special lighting, children and animals, two ice skaters in constant motion and more.
 The trains are a main focus of the village and several of the cars are Thomas Kincaid collectibles. The trains even make stops at each of the train stations.
The couple adds to their collection each year with Walter and Cindy collaborating on the design layout. Since the village comes apart in sections and the houses, shops and landscape are not permanently attached, the village changes every year.
Cindy said most of the buildings came from Michael’s, a craft and novelties chain with a presence in Las Vegas. The backgrounds, base, scenery and other items were designed, crafted and hand-painted by Walter, who is a retired commercial artist. He said he used particle board and styrofoam to get the topography for the mountains and perches for the hilltop houses.
“We don’t do anything else,” Cindy said. “This is our Christmas to each other.”
Cindy said every year, Walter brings the pieces from storage and carefully and meticulously arranges the village and each year something is added from each of them. It’s a labor of love and for Walter, the reason is simple. “I am a kid at heart,” he said. “I just love Christmas.”
Walter has also brought the 12-days of Christmas into their relationship. Cindy said Walter gives her a gift each of the 12 days preceding Christmas. “He was raised Catholic, and has continued the traditional giving to his family members,” said Cindy.
About family, Cindy said living in Desert Greens has brought the couple’s neighbors into their “family.” She said they are just as proud of the Christmas village as anyone.
The neighbors have also become self-appointed protectors and caregivers to the Rudenkos, who have been rescued by neighbors while on the highway between here and Las Vegas when they had a breakdown. Neighbors also assist when something is needed from the grocery stores or pharmacies.
“They are always there for us, and for each other,” Cindy said. “We absolutely love this place, and we couldn’t ask for better neighbors. This is what a neighborhood should be all about, regardless of the size.”
Walter is currently under the care of Nathan Adelson Hospice volunteers and staff.

Snow! January 3rd

More Snow Photos

Chrismas Lights 2010

Girls Gone Wild in Vegas

The Pahrump Linedancers float placed third in the Fall Festival
 parade. Carmen Dempsey
is an active member of this group.

August 2009 - Good News!
The well casing on the golf course well  is not broken,
only a hole in the pipe.
All fixed.

Grape Stomp September 2009

April 2009 - The bad news is our well water pump motor for our golf course went out. It was replaced by a new 25hp 480 volt 3 phase unit and new wiring to it.The good news is our water level is at about 40 feet and the well is 210 feet deep!

Snow at Desert Green December 2008

Vervil Party July 2008

Dee and Grahams Baja presentation

Wild Life June 2008

Wind Damage June 2008

Flowers June 2008

Yard Sale May 2008