LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — If you've driven in downtown Lafayette around Christmas, you may have noticed a man displaying a nativity scene on the back of his truck. That man is Lafayette native, Jack Ruckel.
According to Ruckel in 1998, community members urged the county commissioners to stop allowing a display of the nativity in front of the building due to conflict of interest.
From then on Ruckel took on the title of "Mobile Manger Man." He and his family built a nativity scene that sits on the back of his truck. Around Christmastime Ruckel parks his truck in front of the Courthouse for people to observe as they drive by.
This year, he didn't have to stay mobile. The commissioners granted him limited permission to display his nativity scene on Courthouse land.
Ruckel said it's important for him to have the nativity scene displayed to keep the real message of Christmas alive.
“Just to bring the conversation and that this is the real reason for Christmas and it brings joy to people's hearts just to see it,” said Ruckel.
He said he’s not sure if he’ll be granted permission to display his scene again next year but he plans to continue coming out as long as he lives.
“I'm 81-years old but I'll be here another 10 years I hope, I don't know what happens when I go but maybe the kids will take it up,” said Ruckel.
Ruckel was given permission to display the scene for six days. His nativity scene has been on display since Wednesday Dec. 19. He welcomes the community to come check out the display. He'll be there this evening Sunday, Dec. 23 until 8 p.m. and Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.