The City of Washington Court House Tree Committee planted its 45th tree — an ironwood ostrya Virginia — for the year on Thursday afternoon in honor of local historian and retired school teacher, Paul “Lash” LaRue.
For over 30 years the local tree committee has worked with various community organizations to continue to plant new trees and establish naturalized areas in the community from forested lands to prairie environments. On Thursday, Washington Court House City Manager Joe Denen recognized these efforts during the annual “Celebrate Arbor Day” event, which took place at the Washington Cemetery this year.
“What has been important to me has been the people,” Denen said. “George Shoemaker, Brenda Caudill, Marie Carl, Marlene Rankin, Ted Hawk, Don Creamer and Kelley Ford, along with the many others that help make the tree planting effort successful. Halliday Lumber, the Willis family, and Brigette (Hisey) from (Fayette County) Soil and Water (Conservation) have been excellent examples of how the tree committee is a community effort.”
During the event, city council member Hawk read a proclamation which explained the history of Arbor Day, the necessity for trees in the community and their purpose, the history of celebrating Arbor Day in the city of Washington Court House and more. He also commended the efforts of the tree committee for helping to keep the city a “Tree City USA” member. Denen additionally commented on the significance of honoring LaRue. As one of his former students, Denen said LaRue has made life better for him; a sentiment the city manager knows is shared by many other former students.
“The Arbor Day Tree is not always planted in honor of a person,” Denen said. “In years past, the tree has been planted with school children, the (Fayette) County Commissioners or folks associated with the planting location like the London Plane Tree planted at Dr. Fitton’s Office. Simply, while a humble gesture in a traditionally informal ceremony, the planting of the Arbor Day Tree in honor of Lash is no less important and perhaps all the more appropriate because it is a tree. A tree changes its environment. A tree shelters, a tree nurtures, a tree makes the world a better place. Paul LaRue has made Washington Court House a better place.”
LaRue thanked the crowd and community for honoring him and said, “It has always been a team effort.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.