Dogwood Planted in Memory of Mollie

Park and Tree committee members and city staff plant a dogwood tree at Sankey Park in honor of Arbor Day. Photos by Sarah Brown

Despite a light rain falling upon Sankey Park on Saturday, April 20, families and tree lovers seemed to enjoy the Kid to Park event hosted there in honor of Arbor Day.

The City of Sweet Home celebrated Arbor Day at the park by planting a pink flowering dogwood tree in honor of Mollie Andrews, former owner of Mollie’s Bakery, who passed away in 2016.

“A lot of people in the community remember Mollie, so we wanted to do a celebration tree for her,” Park and Tree Committee Member Lena Tucker said.

Deb Northern and Rod Andrews stand next to a dogwood tree that was planted in honor of Mollie Andrews.

Andrews’ son, Rod Andrews, and granddaughter, Debra Northern (who serves on the Park and Tree Committee), had a front row seat to watch the planting of the tree, which overlooks the babbling Ames Creek.

Northern said the tree is beautiful, her grandmother would love it, and it’s in a perfect spot.

“She enjoyed being with people and serving people,” Rod said of his mother.

The City of Sweet Home has been recognized as a Tree City USA for 37 years. To qualify for the honor, a city must maintain a tree board, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.

While the city’s Park and Tree Committee is committed to celebrating Arbor Day, they wanted to also make the day more of a kid-focused event, Tucker said.

Eli Bullock and his son, Bentlee, said they went to Sankey Park because they saw a flier for the kids event. They ate hot dogs, and played some disc golf and Connect Four.

“We could play cornhole, but he’s afraid of getting smoked,” Eli joked.

When asked if he knew why the committee planted a tree that day, Bentlee simply responded, “air,” but he soon was able to explain how trees provide clean air for people.

Committee Chair Wally Shreves said there are many holidays and celebrations throughout the year across the nation, but Arbor Day is the only one “that celebrates the future.” It’s a day when people are encouraged to plant a tree that will be appreciated by a community into the future.

From right, Wally Shreves, Matthew Bechtel and Nancy Patton serve hot dogs and cookies to families who attended the Arbor Day and Kid to Park event on April 20.

“Trees will reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cutting heat and fueling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce life-giving oxygen and provide habitat for our wildlife,” Shreves said. “They’re a renewable resource. They give us paper and wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and countless other wood products. Trees in our city increase the property value, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify our community.”

After sharing a short speech and planting the dogwood near Weddle Bridge, the committee fed hot dogs to families and gave plants away. Cornhole, Jenga, Connect Four and other games were utilized by kids while other children screamed in delight as they ran through the playground structures under the cover of a grove of trees.

“Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and renewal,” Shreves said.