Toledo honors fallen veterans by planting trees - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Toledo honors fallen veterans by planting trees

Local families joined city officials to honor their loved ones who lost their lives in combat. The city has planted around 40 cherry trees at a memorial on Parkside Blvd. Local families joined city officials to honor their loved ones who lost their lives in combat. The city has planted around 40 cherry trees at a memorial on Parkside Blvd.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The city of Toledo recognized Arbor Day while honoring local veterans at a ceremony Friday on Parkside Boulevard.  

A total of 35 blossoming cherry trees were planted to establish a Veterans Memorial Grove on the boulevard's median between Dorr Street and Mount Vernon Avenue. Quanson cherry trees were chosen because of their blossoms in the spring and colorful leaves in the fall.

The idea stemmed from a phone call to the city's forestry commissioner by Dale Chapman, who wanted to plant a tree in honor of her grandson Army Staff Sgt. Chris Brown, who was killed in Afghanistan in April 2012. The city does not ordinarily plant memorial trees on behalf of individual residents. However, officials felt the visually distinct tree planting was a significant way to observe the dedicated service of men and women in uniform who have lost their lives in combat.

"For myself, I am very grateful that the city has done this for me and others, as well. It shows that the city is supporting our military men and women, who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country," said Chapman.

Joyce Stubblefield's brother, Carlos Jenks, was also killed in action in Vietnam.

"It's going to help me remember the service my brother gave to this country. I also plan to bring relatives from out of town to this site," said Stubblefield.

All the trees were planted in a public right of way that is maintained by the Division of Parks, Recreation and Forestry and will serve to replace trees cleared due to recent utility work. The trees were provided by the city and the service members were recognized in a proclamation by Mayor Mike Bell recognizing April 26 as Arbor Day in Toledo.

Around 15 more trees will be planted next year due to additional utility work. Organizers are also considering putting up flag poles to increase visibility to the memorial.

Chapman says she is looking forward to viewing the grove every day during her morning walks.

"It enhances the neighborhood. Cherry trees are very beautiful. I've never been to Washington during the season of cherry blossoms. I hear it's very beautiful," said Chapman.

Now residents and visitors will be able to feel the same experience right here in Toledo.

A second event will be held April 30 on Parkside with students from Gesu Elementary School. Activities will include more tree planting and educational activities presented by the Ohio State Extension Service and city of Toledo forestry operations.

For 33 years, Toledo has been recognized as a Tree City by the National Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to maintain quality of life by planting trees in cemeteries, boulevards, streets, and parks, plus recognizing Arbor Day as a holiday that uniquely celebrates a living thing. Previous Toledo Arbor Day events have included local students, community and church groups, the Toledo Urban Forestry Commission, and various park boards and commissions.

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