Officials light Safety Tree

Published 9:15 pm Saturday, December 4, 2010

Safety Tree: City officials and Pilot Club of Suffolk representatives lit the Safety Tree on Saturday. From left, Councilman Charles Brown, Brown’s granddaughter Maya Brown, Mayor Linda T. Johnson, Pilot Club of Suffolk Vice President Cathy Richards, City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn and Police Chief Thomas Bennett.

The Pilot Club of Suffolk, with the help of all residents and visitors to the city this month, hopes to keep all 150 lights on the Safety Tree green this year.

Representatives from the club and the city held the official lighting of the Safety Tree at the corner of Main Street and Constance Road on Saturday. The tree had been lit since Wednesday because it always stays lit the entire month of December.

“The goal is to make the citizens of Suffolk aware to slow down and drive safe,” said Cathy Richards, vice president of the Pilot Club of Suffolk. “We want the tree to stay green during the month of December.”

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For every traffic fatality in the city during December, one green bulb on the tree will be replaced with a red bulb.

“The idea is to raise awareness of traffic safety during the holiday season,” said Police Chief Thomas Bennett. “The holidays are typically a time when we see a lot of accidents.”

The Pilot Club has been sponsoring the Safety Tree for 25 years or more, Richards estimated. She believes the highest number of bulbs that have ever been red at the end of the month was five or six.

Richards mentioned the Elks Lodge Christmas tree lot donated the tree that became the Safety Tree.