Marlyn Bacon Kind neighbor

Marlyn Bacon, who builds the lighted candy canes that appear in Hutchinson neighborhoods every winter, is the latest Kind Neighbor Spotlight honoree.

Marlyn Bacon is the latest honoree of Hutchinson Connect’s Kind Neighbor Spotlight, a recognition that allows local residents to nominate “unsung” volunteers.

“Marlyn is the candy cane guy,” wrote Betsy Price, the next-door neighbor who submitted his nomination. “He donates all his time to make these, thousands of them, to bring smiles and joy to the holiday season.”

In late September, Bacon was busy in his Hutchinson garage making more of the white-and-red, PVC-constructed candy canes, with lights spiraling up the vertical tube to the tip of the crook. A family working with him to build their own candy canes shouted “yay!” before and after the lights were successfully illuminated. It’s one of many traditions that take place in Bacon’s garage among those who join in the fun.

Bacon has made a total of 1,960 canes since 2003. He says he does it because he enjoys meeting people and seeing smiles on their faces, especially kids. “I grew up in Winthrop where everybody knew everybody as well as their brother,” he said.

Those who receive a cane are also handed a page explaining the origin of the candy cane, and how its shape represents the “J” for Jesus, or a shepherd’s hook that protects and gently brings back lost or strayed lambs.

Hutchinson Connects is searching for other Kind Neighbor Spotlight honorees.

Nomination forms are available at several locations such as Hutchinson City Center and Hutchinson Public Library. Nomination forms are also available by request by e-mailing hutchinsonconnects@gmail.com.

Hutchinson Connects reviews each form, contacts the volunteer to confirm its accuracy, and with the volunteer’s approval, submits the information for publication in the Hutchinson Leader.

“Our goal is to raise the profile of those who help their neighbors in quiet but enormously helpful ways,” said Mary Henke, chair of Hutchinson Connects. “There are hundreds of people in Hutchinson who fit this description, and we want to give them the recognition they deserve.”