Rotary plants trees to honour two women Planting trees to recognise the contributions of these two women coincides with Rotary International’s target of planting at least two million saplings to make the world a better place.

A tree spade is used to plant an oak tree at Skyview Park.
A tree spade is used to plant an oak tree at Skyview Park.

Two new trees can be found at Skyview Park.

These trees — an oak and a sycamore — have special meaning.

They were planted by the Norfolk Rotary Club (Nebraska, US — D 5650) in memory of two women — Micki Hespe and Abby Uecker — who played a role in the club’s annual Music in the Park. The trees are planted near the Skyview stage.

The oak tree is in honour of Hespe, a lifelong Norfolkan who died in 2011.

She is the daughter of longtime businessman John Hespe, owner of Hespe Construction Company.

Sherri Prim, President of the Norfolk Rotary Club, said Hespe directed a part of her estate to be earmarked for parks and recreation.

At that point in time, Music in the Park was just getting started, as were the discussions about needing a permanent stage at Skyview Park.

Prim said Nucor Steel and Vulcraft were interested in building the stage so “it was a perfect opportunity for Stan (Christensen) as public representative of her estate to direct her generous donation toward the Skyview stage,” Prim said.

“Micki’s family and friends also honoured her with memorial gifts. The money in Micki’s Memorial Fund, along with a donation from the Norfolk Rotary Club, will be used for a tree planted in her honour, near the Skyview stage.”

Christensen, also a Rotarian, is the current treasurer of the club, and former president.

Christensen said he personally wanted to choose an oak tree for Hespe.

“It was a great way to honour her. The leaves stay on the tree all winter along. The leaves are the size of a brick. It’s neat to have leaves stay on all winter long,” Christensen said. “It fits Micki very well.”

For Uecker, who performed under the stage name of Abby Nicole, a sycamore tree was planted.

Uecker performed at Music in the Park for a special performance in July 2016, as well as in July 2017, just a couple of weeks before she died as a result of an accident at the Thayer County Fair in Deshler.

Several members of her family made a donation to Music in the Park in Uecker’s honour.

This money, along with a donation from the Norfolk Rotary Club, was used for a tree planted in her honour near the Skyview stage, Prim said.

“For Abby, I wanted something unique. I visited Earl May and decided on a sycamore,” Christensen said.

“It fits what we were trying to do for her. There’s only one other sycamore in the whole park. They (the trees) are going to be unique trees to the area.”

Planting trees to honour these two women also coincides with Rotary International’s worldwide tree planting initiative for 2017.

Rotary International president-elect Ian H S Riseley has challenged every Rotary Club to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members between the start of the Rotary year on July 1, 2017, and Earth Day on April 22, 2018.

“The Rotary also has a worldwide initiative. There are 1.2 millions Rotarians around the world. Every year, we have a theme. The theme this year is to plant trees,” Christensen said.

“It seemed like it’s fit … to be in honour of people who helped with Music in the Park. Our club was wanting to do something like this for the initiative. It seemed appropriate then to plant trees (in honour of those who contributed) to Music in the Park greatly. It seemed like it all made sense.”

Source: Norfolk Daily News

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