PLEASANT GROVE (ABC4) – Twin brothers David and Aaron Hartle have always been extremely close.
The two 45-year-olds who both live in Utah County, speak on the phone at least once a day. They also often enjoy hiking and other outdoor adventures together. When David began placing lights on the side of the mountains above Pleasant Grove three years ago, as a type of community service, Aaron made sure to accompany his brother each time, to carry his own 40-pound pack of lights up the half-mile hike to the location.
The Hartle brothers have done several eye-catching light formations on the Utah mountains over the years; a chat bubble with a question mark to promote parental discussions on vaping, a Utah Jazz note logo, and most recently, a strawberry to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Strawberry Days in Pleasant Grove.
With a couple of exceptions, one of which was a small donation from Lone Peak High School to put a giant ‘LP’ on the mountain, David Hartle has done his lights, which can be a grueling physical task, as a service for his community.
However, with Aaron currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, David is hosting an auction in which the highest bidder will get to have the family-friend light formation of their choice on a piece of public land. Proceeds from Hartle’s auction will go towards helping his brother, a nurse practitioner who owns his own private clinic from a Springville pharmacy.
David came up with the idea to offer this unique opportunity after getting a text from his hospitalized brother.
“Thursday, he was having a really hard time. His oxygen level crashed down to 60%. And it scared him and then he texted me saying, ‘I’m having a hard time. I’m worried about my family, my businesses closed. We’re not making any income,’” David says. “He’s like, ‘Dave is there anything you can come up with? I need some help.’”
Despite being a working member of the medical community, David explains that his brother did not get vaccinated and now calls that “a big mistake.” According to David, Aaron has been in the hospital for the last four days, with one lung partially collapsed and both lungs filled with fluid. His cough is particularly troubling as well. He has not been placed on a ventilator yet but has been wearing an oxygen mask during his entire stay. Speaking to ABC4.com through his brother, Aaron is encouraging others to take the situation seriously.
His brother fears that even when Aaron gets out, it could be a while before he is able to recover to the point where he could return to work. With no income coming in, and a high deductible on this self-provided medical insurance, getting help has become a necessity for his family.
“It’s really just kind of a scary situation for the family,” David says. “Makes me nervous as heck.”
By offering to place a light formation on the mountain to the high bidder, David is hoping to attract a business or individual looking for a buzz of attention. He says he is willing to do anything within reason that can be acceptable to folks of all ages. Business logos, names, things that would be fun for children to see on the mountain are all in the range of possibilities.
David’s work, which he explains can take hours, if not days, to complete has been revered by the community he lives in. Pleasant Grove city officials frequently turn to him to boost the excitement of an upcoming event or campaign.
Pleasant Grove prevention program coordinator Tamara Oborn, who commissioned Hartle to put a giant chat bubble on the mountainside, gushed when describing his abilities to ABC4 in May.
“He knows exactly where to place them so that it will look a certain way,” she said. “It’s an incredible process.”
Several fans of David’s lights have already submitted bids on his Facebook with the auction set to end on Wednesday. He’s looking forward to getting the winner’s design on the hill but laments that he likely won’t have one of his biggest helpers with him to place the lights, for this time at least.
“He’s always up always supportive and helping with the lights If we’re ever short and I have an extra bag, he’ll be the one carrying two.”