ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The evidence of the April tornadoes that hit southwest Arlington is in what you don’t see in the neighborhoods: trees.
The homes and the trees that once surrounded them date back as far as half a century.
“Oh, we had some good ones!” Home owner Jim Pinker said as he stared at the sawed-off, limbless trunk in his front yard. “We’ve been here almost 30 years. So, these trees in the front, I had an oak tree there and a silver maple there that was nearly the size of that one that’s behind it.”
The tornado is long gone. But its path and lingering after effects are clearly visible. Thousands of trees were uprooted, snapped in half or stripped down to their trunks. Homeowners lost energy-saving shade, valuable additions to their property and trees they had simple grown to love.
“Do I miss the trees?” Pinker asked aloud as he pondered the question. “It takes a lifetime to grow a tree, you know? And then it can be gone in 5 seconds. Its unbelievable. Yeah, you do.”
“Most of these people purchased the houses for the way it looked with the trees,” said Arlington Urban Forestry Manager Heather Dowell. “But the environmental impacts are just enormous.”
Thanks to donations from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation and Lowe’s, Arlington will have 1,000 new trees to offer tornado victims. But, the city needs help planting them. Its asking for volunteers to come out the morning of November 10th at Martin High School from 8 a.m. until noon to help for a single day of large-scale tree planting.
The city calls it a “re-LEAF” operation. But, organizers believes something far more than trees will take root on November 10th.
“We’re not only re-leafing, we’re healing wounds,” Dowell said. “And to do that and get that feel back in the community and get that outreach and to show we care. You know, Arlington is a big community, but we’re not that big. We need to show we’re a tight-knit community and this is definitely the way to do it.”
If you would like to help with the re-LEAF operation, you can find more information on the website keeparlingtonbeautiful.com