Clark Community Center dedicates trees in touching ceremony

Clark Community Center dedicates trees in touching ceremony

Image Credit: Dave Mast

While several beloved figures in the Clark community may have passed away, their memories will live on, courtesy of trees planted at the Clark Community Center.

The Clark community, people from around Holmes County and many family members united at the Clark Community Center on July 23 in a special ceremony dedicating the trees planted on the property in remembrance of loved ones.

In addition, the CCC board celebrated the dedication of the playground, which was named in honor of the late Jason Shultz, who was a mainstay in the Clark community and at the center.

“Jason was very instrumental in changing what you now see here at Clark Community Center from what it used to be,” said Cheryl Seabright, board member at Clark Community Center. “He did a lot of front work, and there is now a plaque at the pavilion that says the playground is dedicated to Jason.”

In addition to the naming of the playground, the Shultz family also donated a new bench in honor of their husband and father. For Jason’s wife Pam Shultz, the honor and dedication were something special.

“I was surprised, and this is very much appreciated,” Pam Shultz said. “It was a great joy to be able to celebrate this in his memory. He absolutely loved this community, and he helped a lot with the walking track and the playground. We will enjoy it, our grandkids will enjoy it and hopefully the community will enjoy it for many years to come.”

As for the tree-planting dedication, there were five trees honored during the event: trees planted in honor of Gail Cochran, who passed away in 2020; Don Gallion, who passed away in 2021; Robert McCune, who passed away in 2022; Deborah Schafer, who passed away in 2019; and Carl Brenly, who passed away in 2008.

“Our family of trees continues to grow,” Seabright said.

Brenly’s tree was planted several years ago and is much larger than the rest of the trees. Brenly was a custodian and bus driver at Clark High School and Elementary School for many years. His wife Ruth Ann was on hand to accept the honor and plant the placard by his tree.

Deb Schafer’s husband Jim was in attendance to talk about his wife and plant the placard, along with many family members.

“Deb was very involved with the school and with 4-H,” Schafer said.

Cary Cochran, husband of Gail Cochran, said of the planting, “It is an honor, and we are all blessed to be able to remember all of our loved ones through these trees.”

Joining him in the honor were many 4-Hers, all of whom benefited from Gail Cochran’s commitment to Holmes County 4-H and the Holmes County Fair.

Many members from the Gallion family gathered to plant the placard and to talk about his involvement in the community, both from his business and his involvement with community activities.

The McCune family also was pleased to be able to honor him through the service, with many members sharing stories of the ornery days of McCune’s youth including his penchant for pranks as a younger man, one of those being his placing an Amish buggy atop the school.

A sixth tree is currently under way for Jack Giauque, a classmate of McCune who was a partner in crime to many of their youthful and adult hijinks that have made for plenty of humorous stories being passed on through the generations.

The tree will be planted in honor of Giauque, who still lives in the community.

The celebration was a testament to how tight this Clark community is and how much their lives intertwine.

“This is such a close-knit community, and this is a unique and neat way to honor some of the people that have meant so much to the center and the community,” Seabright said.

Among the many people celebrating the tree-planting ceremony were family members of those for whom the trees were planted. Also included were other groups such as many of the 4-Hers from the area who helped plant the trees.

“It’s really cool to see everyone come together, kind of hold hands and help each other out when needed,” Seabright said.

Seabright said there will be further opportunities available to anyone wishing to plant a tree in honor of a loved one. She said there is another tree planting already in the works for twins Lester and Esther McCune.

She said if anyone is interested in planting a tree, they may do so by contacting any of the Clark Community Center board members. People also can visit the CCC Facebook page and contact them there by leaving a phone number.