High River's George Lane Park was filled with family members on Wednesday, September 26, who gathered to see the unveiling of commemorative plaques and trees dedicated to their loved ones.

It was all part of the ninth annual Memorial Tree Ceremony, which saw family members who purchased the memento for their loved ones, gather in attendance to see their tribute for the first time.

High River Town Councillor Cathy Couey says the ceremony is a time of reflection and celebration for the families involved, and those they remember.

"We created this program nine years ago, where people could purchase a tree or bench in honour of someone, and that's what we're celebrating today, those who took the honour and time to recognize someone."

Couey says not only is it an enriching experience for the families, but it's also good for the environment.

"I just think it's a responsible way to start to replace things, because we know over time we are going to lose some of these great big mature trees, and why not have some that already have some significant growth that will be able to fill in some of those spots? It's another great way for someone to remember and honour someone."

Families participating in the program have the choice between four varieties of trees that grow well in the two participating parks, George Lane and the Tree Memorial Park on the Northwest side of High River.

Planting the tree, and maintenance runs families $500.

Another choice for the families, is the option to put a six-foot bench and plaque in a requested area in town, which is a $1,200 purchase.

Prior to the commemorative unveiling, families gathered for a brief speech by Couey near the George Lane Gazebo.

The ceremony was also attended by the Town's Urban Arborist Darlene Donovan and Parks Supervisor Tannas Webb.

Couey says the gathering is simple, but has significant meaning for those in attendance.

"It's really about those supporting the program, and those who they are honouring or recognizing, and it's also National Tree Day here, so we are celebrating that as well, it's a pretty fitting combination."


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