Piloting motorists to a safe holiday season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Members of the Pilot Club of Suffolk Inc. contribute their time and talents to providing community services to the people of this city, and in the process, they have initiated many projects to improve the quality of life in the city.

Right now, one of their most visible projects is sitting at the corner of Constance Road and Main Street, just across from McDonald’s. It is the &uot;Pilot Green Safety Tree,&uot; that serves as a constant reminder during the holidays to drive safely to avoid traffic accidents.

Frances Carr, a retired Cancer Service Coordinator from Obici Hospital, is also a member of the Pilot Club of Suffolk, a branch of the International organization. She recently took part in lighting the tree for the 2002 Holiday Season.

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&uot;We are hopeful that the Pilot Green Safety Tree will serve as a visual reminder to drive safely throughout the holidays,&uot; said Carr. &uot;It was only a couple of years ago that one of our members lost her husband in a traffic accident only two days after the Safety Tree was set in place. That accident surely brought home to us just how a traffic fatality can affect a family and we hope that others will be reminded to slow down and drive safely at a time when we are all so pre-occupied with holiday shopping and getting everything done on time.&uot;

Considering that Pilot International’s service focus is helping people affected by brain-related disorders and disabilities, the Green Safety Tree project is a perfect vehicle for passing along safety information.

This year marks the 25th that Pilot of Suffolk has set their Green Safety Tree at Constant’s Wharf and it’s not without some help from the City of Suffolk and the Suffolk Police Department that it has continued to serve as safety reminder.

&uot;The city has been very supportive of our efforts to keep the community aware of traffic safety,&uot; said Carr. &uot;The Police Department has also offered their help for years. They take on the responsibility for the lights on the tree, changing the green to red if a fatality should occur. We are all hoping and praying that this year will be the first in which the entire tree is lit only by green bulbs throughout the holidays. That would mean that no one has died in a traffic accident.&uot;

Of course, the Pilot Club members’ husbands are also helpful when it comes to projects involving community service. Under the title of &uot;Co-Pilots,&uot; the husbands give of their time and talents in many club efforts.

Co-Pilots Willis Eley and Mills Hatfield have been instrumental for years in making sure the Green Safety Tree project is a success. They install the tree, string it with green light bulbs, and make sure they’re all burning brightly as a safety reminder.

&uot;We do hope this year will be the first the tree remains green,&uot; said Carr. &uot;That would be the most wonderful gift of all.&uot;