TROY — City of Troy officials, students from several Troy schools and members of the public and City Beautification Committee gathered at Community Park Wednesday morning, April 26, for the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration.
Each year, the City Beautification Committee plants a tree in recognition of individuals who have made a positive impact in the Troy community and celebrates the history of Troy’s forestry programs, a city of Troy press release said. This year, Ron Erwin was honored for his years of service to the Troy community with the planting of a Princeton elm tree near the brick shelter house in the park. A plaque containing Erwin’s name will be also placed next to the tree signifying its planting in his honor.
Phyllis Dawkins, member of the Beautification Committee, told those gathered for the celebration the Princeton elm tree is a fast growing tree, that will reach 60-90-feet-high. The tree is resistant to wind draft and cold. She praised and thanked Park Department Superintendent Jeremy Drake, who was not present, for his great choice of a tree to be planted for this year’s Arbor Day celebration.
At the beginning of the event, Troy Beautification Committee President Gareth Johnston welcomed all gathered and introduced Mayor Robin Oda, who read a proclamation declaring April 26, 2023, to be Arbor Day in the city of Troy.
“Arbor Day throughout the nation has long been established as the time to recognize the value of trees to our environment and well being…” Oda read in part when beginning the proclamation. “… It is desirable in the city of Troy to promote a program of urban forestry to encourage the cultivation of care of existing trees, along with the planting of new ones.”
“… The park department and Beautification Committee within the city of Troy are active in continuing these efforts and are dedicated to keeping Troy beautiful, colorful and well groomed…”
Bob Miller, with the Beautification Committee, then spoke about and introduced Erwin, who was seated with his family.
Erwin, Miller said, although native of Urbana, has lived in Troy for 48 years with his wife Kathie, where they raised their three children, Matt, Lisa and Shelley. He is the owner of Erwin Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on South County Road 25A in Troy.
“When a fire ravaged the old downtown facility,” Miller said, “Ron found land to build, and today that building is The Miami Valley Veterans Museum, of which he was instrumental in helping to facilitate. In 2001, Erwin Chrysler Dodge (Jeep) Ram moved to the facility where it is today. He is proud to have his son Matt, alongside to continue the family business.”
“He has been very active in the Troy Kiwanis, including serving as president in 2000. He has also been very active in the First United Methodist Church, and has served on the YMCA board since 1997,” Miller continued before Erwin stepped up to give thanks for the honor.
“Troy’s been a great community for us to raise a family. We have been here 48 years and we have raised three children. You got to give back,” Erwin said. “We have a great community and great people and a business and been involved in church and Kiwanis and different things, so I feel humbled. … Thanks everybody for being here this Arbor Day and what it is about, and trees and we can’t live without them.”
Ewrin spoke of being grateful for blessings, as he briefly mentioned having health issues recently, and shared a story about the joy of his dog greeting him.
“You know, every day is a beautiful day. It doesn’t matter what the weather is outside. It’s just a little antidote that you’ve got little things like that reminding you that it’s going to be a good day, and the Lord has blessed us and he is blessing us here today,” Erwin said.
Next during the Arbor Day celebration, 13 elementary-aged students from Concord, Cookson, Heywood, Hook, Montessori and Troy Christian presented facts, poems and even jokes to the audience about trees and their importance.
Troy Christian student Paisley Buscher, 9, daughter of Chris and Amanda Buscher, of Troy, said she learned there are three trillion trees in the world, which equals 422 trees per person. She told Miami Valley Today she and her dad conducted research together to prepare for the day.
“I was nervous,” Paisley said about getting up in front of the crowd, but was also “excited” when she found out she could be one of the student participants.
After gathering with the children to put more dirt on the recently planted tree in his honor, Erwin told Miami Valley Today, “I feel humbled here today. I thought there are so many other people who could be a tree person (who could have been honored by the city) and plant a tree. I’m just humbled by that.”
“I just try to help the community and different projects and different things. And I am just proud of the Veteran’s Museum, which we got that off the ground,” Erwin said.