Going green for safety

Published 6:20 pm Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Once again, Suffolk is challenged to have another safe Christmas season on the roads.

The Pilot Club of Suffolk set up its Safety Tree on Dec. 1, in front of the Suffolk Elks Lodge on West Constance Road. The club has set this tree out since 1977 to bring awareness to traffic safety during the holiday season.

“It’s a reminder to, even in this busy season, to be mindful of others with our safe driving,” said Caren Bueshi, who is on the board of directors for the Pilot Club of Suffolk.

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The tree is set out and decorated with a strand of green lights each year at the beginning of December. For each traffic fatality in Suffolk, one of the green lights will be switched to red by a Suffolk police officer. The goal is to keep all lights green all month long.

The tree has stayed green only a handful of times, meaning that there were no Suffolk traffic fatalities. December 2020 was one of them, and hopefully, the streak will continue through 2021. However, with many folks vaccinated and stores and restaurants reopened, folks can expect more holiday traffic than last year, increasing the need for even more caution.

“We hope to end the season with no fatalities,” said Bueshi.

Suffolk residents can do their part this holiday season by sharing the road, using extra patience and not driving while impaired. Not only will this keep the lights green, but also it will allow everyone to ring in a happy and safe New Year.

The Pilot Club of Suffolk thanks the organizations who have made this tree possible this year and years before. The Knights of Columbus Suffolk donated the live tree from its lot at 2432 Pruden Blvd. The Elks Lodge has kindly hosted the tree on their property, and the Suffolk Police Department takes on the responsibility of changing the red bulbs.

“The Pilot Club of Suffolk is always honored to play our part in helping celebrate a safe holiday season,” said Bueshi.