The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbors, The Sebastians

By Susan Galbraith, The Quill

Meet Your Neighbor Bryon and Alice Sebastian owners of Sebastian Sandblasting and Powder Coating in Gladstone.

Alice is also employed full time at the Stores Department at Great River Medical Center in Burlington, Iowa, for seven years plus helping Byron in their business.

They sandblast or powder coat anything that is metal. An item can be sandblasted and then powder coated with paint and baked on. Everything is done on site in Gladstone.

They started the sandblasting business, in 1997, at their home in rural Gladstone and in 2000 built a facility for sandblasting and added the powder paint coating building in June of this year.

They credit Tom Morrison, as their resource person for the business, who was responsible for the leg work and research on the new facility.

"Most projects of this magnitude take 9 months to a year to complete said Byron, but this was finished in 3 months from the day it was started. However it would not have been possible without the help of Mike Hopkins, Donnie Olson and Tom assembling the bigger equipment."

Both Byron and Alice are originally from Gladstone and graduated from Union High School.

Byron's mom still lives in Gladstone and he has one sister, Rita Fernald.

Alice has 3 grown children who have blessed her with three grandchildren, Bailey, Isabella and Avery. Her mom lives in Gladstone and she also has one brother that lives in Gladstone and a brother that lives in Stronghurst.

Byron says work is his hobby but Alice's hobby is the Christmas display at their rural home east of Gladstone.

They have a phenomenal display of Christmas lights which Bryon started about 10 years ago.

After marrying Alice she decided this would be her full-time hobby. They started by traveling to Branson, Missouri to purchase their first Christmas yard decorations and then heard of a place, 6 miles from Pidgeon Forge, Tennessee.

On their first vacation to Tennessee they rented a U-haul and purchased 54 pieces. Each year they have added to their display and now Alice checks the company website and has them ship additional pieces to add to their collection.

They start on Thanksgiving Day setting up their large display which takes 60 to 75 hours to complete. On that day they hand out candy canes to those driving by. And any nice day, you may find them at the end of their lane handing out candy canes to the children.

They have always set up the display by themselves, but for the first time this year they had the volunteer help of friends from Burlington, Iowa, Richard and Susie Beames and young friend, from Gladstone, Mason Fullerton.

They have visitors from many different states that come to see their beautiful display.

The display area covers 4 acres with approximately 65,000 lights, 2 miles of drop cord on top of the ground, and 8000 feet of underground wire with approximately 63 plug-ins. There are 5 timers that go on at 1 minute intervals.

Alice was told, that the day after Thanksgiving, someone was in Target telling folks, up and down the aisles, all about the huge display of Christmas lights at rural Gladstone and that everyone should bring their children to see them.

They don't take vacations or go on trips as the display is where they enjoy spending their vacation money.

They have a "Letters to Santa" box near their home where children can drop in their "wish lists". When the children leave their letters to Santa, Alice sends back a "Santa" letter to each child if their address is on the letter. Each night she and Byron read the letters and as Alice says, "many bring tears to their eyes."

Their electrical bill averages $100 a week for the six weeks they have their lights on. They are turned on, for the first time, Thanksgiving eve and are turned off on New Year's eve. The schedule is from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Some folks put donations in the Santa box although both Byron and Alice say, "this is their gift to the community."

Be sure to take time, this holiday season, to take a trip east of Gladstone, and view the beautiful display that Byron and Alice have put their hands and hearts into.