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Firefighters Support Arbor Day

May 24, 2021

Montgomery Township Volunteer Fire Company #2 hosted the Montgomery Township Shade Tree Committee volunteers, as they prepared native witch-hazel tree seedlings to distribute to 3rd and 4th graders at Village Elementary School (VES).

Each year, the Shade Tree Committee distributes trees in celebration of Arbor Day. Volunteers typically gather at VES the day prior to Arbor Day to prepare the seedlings for distribution. Due to the pandemic, the preparation couldn’t occur at VES this year and the Shade Tree Committee needed a large space in which a small number of volunteers could safely work.

Montgomery Shade Tree Committee members and family preparing seedlings at MTVFC#2. From left to right: Eileen Foti, Amy Rosenthal, Matt Rosenthal, Mia Wong, Ed Heebner, Larry Koplik, and Sarah Roberts.

The engine bays of the firehouse seemed an ideal option and MTVFC#2 was happy to oblige. Adam Verducci, chief of MTVFC#2, states “As a Community organization, I feel very proud to be able to offer support to other community organizations any way we can. I participated in Arbor Day years ago and feel a sense of pride being able to help the event continue.”

Other MTVFC#2 trustees were equally supportive. In fact, Nelson Garrymore, Trustee and Lieutenant, also remembers fondly the tree he planted in 2003, recalling “The Redbud tree that I planted grew to over 30 ft tall. I was very proud to see that the small seedling I planted in third grade had grown so much with my help. I feel this is an important lesson for the young people of today to learn and I’m happy the Fire Company is able to support the great work the Shade Tree Committee continues to do.”

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A number of other firefighters have similar memories of their Arbor Day trees. Aidan Dugan planted a persimmon 11 years ago and it is now over 20 ft tall. Aidan recalls the excitement she felt when her teacher and the Shade Tree Committee taught her class the importance of planting trees. She returned home from school with the seedling in her backpack and convinced her parents to plant it that same day.

Aidan Dugan, firefighter at MTVFC#2, in Skillman with her persimmon tree that she planted 11 years ago.

Over the years, she has watched it grow with pride and helped her younger siblings plant their Arbor Day trees as well. The Shade Tree Committee volunteers were limited to 10 and included only five family pairs to minimize any possible transmission to first responders.

The volunteers prepared the seedlings by first wrapping them in newspaper and then soaking them in water before inserting into a plastic bag and affixing a label. These volunteers wrapped 300 trees in under two hours and other volunteers wrapped trees at home to meet the total of 500 trees. A fire call even came in during the tree wrapping, adding to the excitement and spirit of community.

MTVFC2, Station 46, is always looking for volunteers. Visit or stop by the firehouse any Wednesday evening at 7pm for more information on how to join.


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