Volunteers gather to plant trees at Chattanooga's National Cemetery
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Under an overcast sky 200 volunteers ranging from a 91 year old World War II veteran to an 8 year old cub Scout gathered to plant 80 trees in the Chattanooga National Cemetery Saturday morning. The volunteers came from throughout the region and represented diverse civic, veterans and patriotic organizations.
The group organized themselves into Planting Teams who brought their own planting tools. Each team planted from two to four trees. The planting was coordinated by Rear Admiral Noah Long, U. S. Navy (retired), a past chairman or the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council and a Master Gardener, in conjunction with the Urban Forestry Department of the City of Chattanooga.
The department, headed by Army veteran, Gene Hyde, was able to provide the trees as a result of a foundation grant.
Cemetery Director, Deborah Kendrick, thanked the CAVC, the City of Chattanooga, and the assembled volunteers. She noted that this effort will help ensure the beauty of the cemetery for years to come.
Planting Teams were provided by the Vietnam Veterans of America Unit 203, the American Legion Post 95 of East Ridge, Soddy Daisy High School JROTC, and the East Gate High School JROTC. The Marine Corps and the Navy provided teams composed of active duty, reserve and retired personnel.
The two area Sea Cadet programs from Signal Mountain and Chattanooga each sent approximately 20 cadets that helped out on multiple sites with other teams. The Knights of Columbus and the Signal Mountain Lions Club worked with the Sea Cadets. A Girl Scout Troop from East Ridge Community Center planted a potential replacement for the historic Washington Hawthorn.
The area gardeners were well represented by a team of Master Gardeners, a team from the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs Dist III members, and one from The Garden Club of Signal Mountain TFGC. Individual volunteers from the Coast Guard and the Submarine Service filled in with other teams.
The trees planted were all native to this region to provide historic context and to insure maximum survival.