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by Michael J. Newhard
“THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES”
The Man who Planted Trees by French author Jean Giono tells a story of a shepherd who re-forested a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in Provence. Although there hasn’t been a book written about my friend, Roger Metzger, the title of the book aptly describes his activities as Shade Tree Commissioner for over 40 years.
On Friday, April 28th at 10:30 a.m. in Stanley Deming Park many people and hundreds of school children will congregate as we honor Roger for his service to our Village. All are invited. This is a joint event sponsored by the Warwick Valley Gardeners, the Village of Warwick and the Sesquicentennial Committee. We will be planting the “Sesquicentennial Tree” which will be the first tree planted for an arboretum which will be named in honor of Roger.
Roger has been a long-time true friend. I served with him on the Shade Tree Commission, the Village Board and he served as my Deputy Mayor for many years. Roger has his own style, always well dressed, meticulous never fussy. He speaks directly and to the point â€“ he never minces words. I appreciated that clarity especially as a newly elected Trustee and then Mayor. My favorite activity I shared with Roger was our yearly drive abouts the Village looking at sites to plant new trees. This was done with the help of Jan Jansen from Jansen’s Nursery, who has a tremendous horticulture resume as well. By the end of these trips I felt I had been to “Trees 101.” What was apparent during those drives was Roger’s deep love for the Village and that the Village was his garden.
For many years the Arbor Day Ceremony has been at Stanley Deming Park and like clockwork a small army of first graders came over the rise from Park Avenue School. That moment gave Roger a sense of glee. Maybe it was the knowledge that these first graders would see the fruits of his labors, his love of trees and the magnificence of a Maple.
On behalf of the Village Board and the good people of the Village and Town of Warwick I say thank you, Roger, for your dedication and the great gift of the many trees that have been cared for and planted in the Queen Village and because of your efforts the Green Village of the Hudson Valley.
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The next Village Board meeting is Monday, May 1st at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall.