Tree shines green for safety

Published 8:20 pm Friday, December 2, 2022

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Suffolk’s Safety Tree has returned with green and red lights that signify the loss of a local resident to a traffic fatality.

The Pilot Club of Suffolk has once again put up its annual Safety Tree for the holiday season. Set at the Elk’s Lodge on 329 W. Constance Rd, this year’s Christmas tree was once again donated by the Knights of Columbus in an effort to promote safety for the city.

Since 1977, the community-based volunteer organization has had a tree placed to help bring safety awareness to locals with green lights flourishing the tree. Each time a traffic fatality occurs, Suffolk Police officials change a light to red to signify the loss.

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Both 2020 and 2021 were years of full green lights and Pilot Club of Suffolk President-Elect Leah Powell spoke on what the success meant to her.

“It was a great feeling to know that we kept all the citizens of Suffolk safe,” said Powell.

Likewise, Pilot International Virginia District Governor Linda Lowers said she believes the tree is important.

“It’s primarily about promoting safety during the month of December,” Lowers said. “We want people to be aware that when they’re driving, when they’re out shopping, to just be cautious and be careful.”

She said she hopes the tree reminds locals to be safe during the holidays.

“We just hope that people will ride by and see the tree and maybe think in their mind, ‘Oh, I need to be careful,’” Lowers said. “It’s the holiday season and we want everyone to be safe.”