Couple enjoys holiday village for the last time

Jean Hainley: 'It was our Christmas card to the community for a lot of years'

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Osceola County residents Kermit and Jean Hainley will be enjoying their holiday village one last time before packing it in.

"It was our Christmas card to the community for a lot of years," Jean Hainley said. "We call it a holiday village."

In the mid-1970s, Jean Hainley said the village began with a small platform.

"Kermit's family was from Pennsylvania, where they made railroad cars, so they always had railroads under their tree with a little paper town, and my family always had a nativity set," she said.

Utilizing his woodworking skills, Kermit began creating the village, while Jean painted her husband's work and began placing them in different scenes.

From kids in the area to seniors from neighboring towns, everyone was given the opportunity to not only visit the village, which resided in the Hainleys' home, but partake in its creation.

"This was another hobby Kermit and I could do together," she said. "It was our way of greeting the people from the local communities of Evart and Reed City, and being able to say thank you for accepting us into the community, but it just grew year after year."

Now, 62 years into their marriage, Jean Hainley said she's enjoyed the time she's gotten to work with her husband. However, the two will be downsizing their home, and are looking for a place to leave their legacy.

"It was just a wonderful time to interact with everyone," she said. "It would be nice if we could find a place for it to be left."

Jean Hainley said museums have been contacted, but as of right now, she doesn't know what will become of the holiday village. With hopes of finding a home, she said the plan is to find a way to give the village to a community where families will be able to enjoy it year after year, and hopes those who display it will feel joy in hosting it.

"We have enjoyed meeting the people in the area. It has extended our interaction with people in the community, and that was a good thing," Jean Hainley said. "This gave them the opportunity to see Eagle Village in a different light."

For more photos of the holiday village, visit