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Garden club holds Arbor Day ceremony

The Georgiana Garden Club held its annual Arbor Day presentation and planting of a tree last week.

Each year, club members gather to donate a flowering Bradford pear tree to a local business or other needy landscape. This year’s donation site was the new daycare, whose construction was funded by the Georgiana Hospital board and is set to open in the coming months.

Garden Club president Suzy Shepard presided over the ceremony, which included such community notables as Georgiana Mayor Lynn Watson, R.L. Austin Elementary Principal Alton Abrams, Whitney Bank’s Charles Shepard, Butler County Commissioner William Phillips and the Alabama Forestry Commission’s Steve Perdue. Perdue was joined by his friend Smokey Bear (Forest Ranger Michael King).

The ceremony included several Arbor Day-related readings by the officials and club members as the tree was planted in front of the daycare.

&uot;This is a special day for the club,&uot; Shepard said. &uot;We want to do something special for our community each year, and planting a tree is a marvelous way to keep our neighborhood green.&uot;

Shepard said this year’s tree is donated in honor of Roger Dean Voreis, the father of hospital board member, Dr. Jeffrey Voreis, and Jennifer Grooms.

Roger Voreis was killed in a car accident on September 28, 2001.

Dr. Voreis said that he really appreciated the wonderful gesture made by the garden club.

&uot;My father would have appreciated this,&uot; Voreis said. &uot;Today is bittersweet because it reminds me of the day my father was killed. It was a beautiful, sunny day, just like this one.&uot;

The ceremony also included an award ceremony to recognize the winners of the garden club’s Woodsy Owl and Smokey Bear coloring contest.

The third grade Smokey Bear coloring contest winner was Sharde Slawson of R.L. Austin Elementary School; fourth grade Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl coloring contest winner was Ashtyne Cole of Trinity School.

Cole was also the state winner for the Woodsy Owl GCA contest.

The winners were given cash prizes by the club.

Other club members participating in the ceremony were Sylvia Taylor, Carolyn Thompson, Joan Andrews, Sandra Jones and Frances Lowery.