Letter: A second chance
On April 3, the Montague police and fire were summoned to a car crash on the Montague Center Common. Upon arrival, the car had come to rest squarely against the only Catalpa tree. Standard operations were instituted, injured attended, car towed, scene cleared of debris.
But there is far more to this accident.
Later in the day a passenger in the car lost her life presumably from injuries. And the tree was now leaning at a 65-degree angle. As an EMT who responded, I felt in order to help everyone heal from this experience, the tree needed prompt attention. Our community is so fortunate to have Ralph Rau as “resident tow truck operator” and lieutenant in the Fire Department.
Ralph, without hesitation, announced if someone was willing to dig around the tree he would bring the wrecker to upright the tree. Time was of the essence due to the stress now placed on the tree, anchor roots exposed to the elements, tree about to awaken from its winter rest and impending rain. No committee formation was needed nor length discussion as to “how/why.” Action was warranted.
To the trees’ rescue came Suzanne Kretzenger. She actually planted the tree many years ago and has quietly been a tree activist for our common. Suzanne grew up on Hunting Hills, which was established by her father, Mel. He was a longtime supporter of our forests, belonging to the conservation committee and urging the planting of trees long before the phrase “global warming.” She painstakingly worked over the weekend to try to upright the tree.
By Sunday afternoon, the tree was now properly prepared for the big move. As a “sidewalk” supporter, I was so impressed on Suzanne’s attention to every detail in this move. Padded splints placed around the tree to prevented the straps of the tow from damaging the bark, rope/stakes ready to support the tree and fencing to give the tree “space” to settle.
The tree is now back upright, will it survive? Time will tell but I do feel we all need to thank Ralph and Suzanne for giving the tree its second chance. And our hearts and prayers are with the Woodard family who lost a cherished family member.