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Mourning Families Honor Loved Ones’ Memories Through Turlock Holiday Tree

TURLOCK -- The holidays can be rough for grieving families, especially for Debbie Murdock’s loved ones.

Through their sorrow they have found a new purpose.

“Mom would always go pull tags for kids in need around the holidays," said Murdock's daughter Danee Wallace. "Even when we knew she didn’t have a lot, she would always pull tags.”

Murdock's daughters say she passed from a brain tumor in January of last year. Her death came with no warning.

“And she was such like a leader in our family,” said her daughter Kaitlyn Wyatt.

In her honor, Murdock’s children and husband have set up a holiday tree in Turlock, with each tag representing a child in need this holiday season.

“So many people are missing someone around the holidays," Wallace said. "So, we thought this would be a great idea to kind of set up and get the community involved.”

The ornaments hung remind mourning families that they are not alone in their grief. That, even if they're in pain, they can achieve something beautiful this holiday.

"It's touching to see that people are coming out and being a part of it, but it's also heartbreaking to know that there's so many people feeling the same pain that you do," said Murdock's daughter Kelly Fetter.

The tree has become their new tradition and a way of honoring the mother they miss dearly. The woman who gave so much, even when she had very little.

“Change your traditions a little bit, find that new normal," Wyatt said. "So, we’re finding that new normal.”

The family says any leftover tags will be taken care of so they can help as many kids as possible. If you would like to visit the tree it’s located near La Mo Restaurant at 310 E Main St. in Turlock. You can donate unwrapped toys until Dec. 23 and gifts will be distributed to the Salvation Army and fire stations in Turlock.