UNION COUNTY — Trees were planted and dedicated in three communities Thursday as public officials, students and others came together to help celebrate Lockhart Power’s century of service and its commitment to providing renewable, sustainable energy.
At the “Welcome to the City of Union” sign at 1009 Furman Fendley Highway (U.S. 176), a group of local dignitaries that included Union Mayor Harold Thompson, Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair, Joe Nichols City of Union Utility director and Union County Development Board chairman, and Andren Powell-Baker, Union County Development Board executive director, joined with Bryan Stone, Lockhart Power COO, and Stewart Winslow, Pacolet Milliken project manager, to dedicate the planting of 25 trees at the sign.
The trees were among 100 planted in Union, Jonesville, Lockhart and Pacolet Thursday in celebration of Lockhart Power’s 100th anniversary.
Stone said the trees not only commemorate the company’s century of service to its customers and their communities, but also its commitment to provide environmentally-friendly energy.
“Lockhart Power is donating a hundred trees to the communities we do business in to help thank them for supporting us for the last hundred years and to look forward to us continuing to serve them for the next hundred years,” Stone said. “We think of the trees as representing sustainability, both environmental and economic. Almost one hundred percent of the power generate is from renewable, sustainable resources.”
The trees planted at the sign include two “Patty Faye” Deodar Cedars, a “Cripps Golden” Hinoki Falsecypress, eight Ildewirld Eastern Red Cedars, three Burki Eastern Red Cedars, five “Goldrush” Dawn Redwoods, and six Green Giant Arborvitaes.
Also in the Union area, 11 Overcup Oaks were planted at Sims Middle School.
A short time later, Stone and Winslow, joined by Jonesville Mayor Ernest Moore and Dr. Kristi Woodall, Union County School District superintendent, took part in a ceremony dedicating 11 trees planted in front of Jonesville Elementary-Middle School. The ceremony was attended by the school’s kindergarten students who Principal Rene’ Pryor said the trees are dedicated to.
“We received 11 trees that were donated by Pacolet Milliken Enterprises,” Pryor said. “They are planted in front of the building. They’ll enhance the beauty of our school for many years to come. We’re just thrilled we received such a generous gift from Pacolet Milliken.
“The trees are being dedicated to the kindergarten class of 2013,” she said. “Each year, with Mr. Winslow’s help, we will select another tree to be planted and dedicated to different kindergarten classes. We’ll be selecting different kinds of trees so students can study them and learn about trees.”
Pacolet Milliken is the parent company of Lockhart Power and Winslow, who served as Milliken founder Roger Milliken’s horticulturist, said the trees can help promote economic development through community beautification.
“I graduated from Union High School and I think it is important for economic development to have pride in the community,” Winslow said. “When companies come in they do with eyes wide open looking around everywhere, including schools. Hopefully, these trees will make a positive impact.”
During the ceremony at JEMS, a student read “The Giving Tree,” copies of which were given to Stone, Winslow and Pacolet Milliken. Several students then read what Pryor said were “thank yous” for the trees.
The ceremony ended with the students carrying bags of potting soil out to put around the trees — Overcup Oaks — with many of them then, as one teacher said, giving the trees “some love” by patting down the soil they’d poured out.
In addition the trees at JEMS, another 11 Overcup Oaks were planted at the Mac Cunningham Sports Complex on Alman Street in Jonesville.
The ceremony in Lockhart was at 701 Lockhart Drive where 11 Overcup Oaks and two ‘Tokyo Tower” Fringtrees were planted in the Gregory Kids World Playground.
Following an address by Stone in which he said the beautification of the neighborhoods would spur economic development, Mayor Ailene Ashe recalled talking with Roger Milliken and asking him to take a trip through Lockhart one night and look at the beauty of the river and the lights of the town. She said she is often told that Lockhart is reminiscent of a Swiss village, something she said would be enhanced by the new trees.
“With the addition of these trees — which we desperately needed — it will look even more like a Swiss village, which we take as a compliment,” Ashe said.
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