Vets Get Back to Their Roots, Bring Roots Back
Bridge Street is typically known for its
nightlife. But, two Oswego residents are bringing some daylight-inclined life
back to the street.
Galloway ’58 remembers when Oswego’s main street was lined
with brilliant, blooming trees. He got the idea to bring back the trees while
“Twice a year we go to Skaneateles … it draws
thousands of tourists and I was admiring the trees. Bridge Street used to look
like that when I was younger,” Galloway recalls. “It kept dwelling on my mind
for years until I thought ‘Who could help me with this idea?’”
Galloway thought of his longtime friend Bill
McCarthy. Galloway, who was raised on the west side of Oswego, and McCarthy, who grew up on the east
side, have known each other since grade school. “He was an administrative
assistant to Mayor William Cahill and he’s a veterans' advocate, so he knows
tons of people.”
The pair approached the Department of Public
Works and the Common Council for approval of their idea. After a conversation
with Mayor Randolph Bateman, Galloway and McCarthy
decided to make blooming cherry trees the tree of choice for their new program,
formally named Trees for Vets.
Galloway and McCarthy
will plant trees along Bridge Street in an effort to rejuvenate the city to
how it looked when they were young men living in Oswego. They both joined the service
during the Korean War.
“Back then patriotism was huge,” McCarthy
The trees will be planted with a plaque
engraved by Lupien Gifts & Engraving with the name of the serviceperson,
their rank and dates of service.
Regardless of the program’s name, Galloway
says that trees will not be planted for veterans exclusively. “Anyone in a family that
wants to remember a family member or influential person” is encouraged to
donate a tree in their honor as well.
Ontario Orchards, owned by Dennis and June Shaetell Oulette '79, is handling orders and
supplying the trees for the program. The Department of Public Works will
conduct all plantings because of their knowledge about the location of electric
wires and underground pipes.
The first planting is scheduled for Arbor
Day, which falls on April 30 this year. Approximately 25 trees have been ordered
for that day, but Galloway hopes that as temperatures begin to climb and they
start planting downtown the program will “catch on.”
J. Beekman ’10
In homage to their roots, Galloway will
help plant the program’s first tree on his native west side and McCarthy put one in the ground on the east side.
The pair also hopes to schedule a planting
on Veterans Day. A fellow alumna, June
MacArthur ’08 is spearheading an initiative to have Oswego designated as a
Tree City USA.
Tom Galloway '58, right, and lifelong friend Bill McCarthy founded the Trees for Vets project to bring more foliage back to Oswego. Pictured here in American Legion Park, both are veterans of the Korean War.
Back to April front page • Next story: Early Warning • Previous story: Earth Day