Nearly 200 ComEd and Exelon Generation employees from Dresden and Braidwood stations say “Happy Arbor Day” from Coal City, Illinois, where they gathered to help replant more than a 100 trees within the community.
ComEd and Generation employees provided the manpower for planting 110 trees throughout Coal City on Arbor Day Friday, April 27.
Coal City sustained extensive damage when a tornado slammed into the town in 2015, completely destroying about 100 homes and killing thousands of established trees. It’s the second time Exelon volunteers have combined forces to help rebuild the tree canopy within the very grateful community.
“After today we will have reestablished nearly 1,000 trees in the community, which is unbelievable in just two years – and we couldn’t have done that without ComEd and Exelon’s partnership,” Coal City Mayor Terry Halliday said at the event’s kickoff, appropriately on Arbor Day, Friday, April 27, at the United Methodist Church.
Homeowners were able to choose from a list of about 20 trees, which included the State Street Maple, Autumn Blaze Maple, Red Jewel White Crabapple, Prairiefire Pink Crabapple, River Birch, Little Twist Cherry, Eastern Redbud and more.
Dresden and ComEd employees plant a tree in the backyard of Kankakee Street in Coal City.
Donations and sponsorship from several groups including ComEd, Trees Forever, Village of Coal City, Morton Arboretum, and volunteers who provided the labor greatly reduced the cost to homeowners from as much as $550 per tree to just $100 per tree.
The trees came from Spring Grove Nursery in Mazon, which partnered with iTrees.com to get the holes pre-dug and JULIE inspections done before the planting on Friday.
“Trees are something that everybody can really rally around,” said Becky Thomas, owner of Spring Grove Nursery. “They absorb storm water, save energy and clean the air.”
The collaboration between so many groups has been most impressive to Thomas.
“It’s been fantastic. It’s been really great,” she said. “Bringing corporate, village, ComEd/Exelon, and local businesses like ours together to support the communities your employees live in is really unique. It’s a really good thing.”
Molly Kreidler, a Dresden equipment operator, shovels to cover a tree she helped plant on Friday. Each group of volunteers planted three trees.
Dresden Equipment Operator Molly Kreidler lives in Coal City. Her home wasn’t damaged, but she volunteered Friday morning, helping make sure her team of four had the correct depth for their pear tree on Kankakee Street before placing and planting it.
“I love trees,” she said. “I think it’s great that Exelon took the initiative and so many people showed up.”
Estimated as many as 50,000 trees were killed as a result of the EF3 tornado – a seemingly impossible number derived from the number of semi loads of trees hauled out in the cleanup. Shockingly, only one person was injured when the tornado took out a wide swath of homes near the town’s high school.
From left, Aaron and Brooke Appleby, a Dresden reactor engineer; Diana Hart, a Dresden in-processing, access and FFD specialist; and Molly Kriedler, a Dresden equipment operator, all smile with one of the trees they planted in Coal City Friday.