A small group of Elizabethtown Rotary Club (Kentucky, US – D 6710) members and their families and friends gathered Sunday afternoon at the Rotary Pavilion at Freeman Lake Park to celebrate Earth Day and honour the memory of those with Rotary ties who have died over the last year.
President-elect Ashley Narvaez said the project came from the Rotary International’s initiative to plant trees this year as a club activity.
“We decided to honour those who have passed in the last year,” Narvaez said.
“We’ve set five white dogwood trees to honour Bill and Betty Swope, Ronnie Pence, Rev B T Bishop and Hans Marsen.”
The trees were placed in the ground last week near the pavilion.
“We’re here to dedicate these trees as a lasting and living memory to great folks,” Rotary member Ed Durnil told those gathered during the ceremony.
“This is for the future generations of the five honourees, club and family members. The passing of these five left large holes in the community and our lives,” he added.
“(It’s) not shade we’ll get to sit under, but our grandchildren and other children get to sit under.”
Narvaez thanked Elizabethtown Parks and Recreation for a donation of five small markers, each with the name of one of the honorees.
“They were eager to help us,” she said. “The markers can easily be replaced if damaged or stolen.”
The crowd moved from under the pavilion to near the trees for placing of the markers.
Bob Swope helped his granddaughters, Palmer and Chatham Galey, as they placed markers at two trees, one each for Bob’s parents, Bill and Betty Swope.
Nancy Pence, widow of Ronnie Pence, one of the founders of Kentucky Neighborhood Bank — now South Central Bank — pushed the marker down by a tree as Ronnie’s family and friends stood nearby.
B T Bishop Jr placed the marker beside the tree for his father, the Rev BT Bishop of First Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, as his brother Tony and sister-in-law Becky stood beside him.
The last marker was for Hans Marsen, who was a member of Hardin Memorial Health’s Board of Directors and president of HMH Auxiliary, was placed by friend Val Claycomb as his family was unable to attend.
“I’ve always appreciated how this community supports each other,” Tony Bishop said.
“The tree dedication to (my father’s) memory is an honorable thing showing the love for each other.”
Rotary club members also planted flowers before the ceremony in honour of Earth Day and to beautify the area around the pavilion, which was donated by the club in 1976.
Narvaez said plans also include to clean and repaint the stone in front of the pavilion that contains the words of the Rotary’s Four-Way Test.
Earth Day first was held April 22, 1970, as a day of education about environmental issues.
More than one billion people around the world were expected to take part in Earth Day activities this year.
Source: The News-Enterprise