For the fifth year in a row, the Summit Hill Shade Tree Commission has been recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA program for their continued work in protecting and managing the trees in the hilltop community. Bureau of Forestry Program Leader Frank Snyder was on hand to present a flag and crystal plaque to Commission Chairperson Dr. Louis Vermillion during the 11th annual Arbor Day Service in Memorial Park Saturday morning as a recognition of their dedication and efforts.

"Summit Hill has done a terrific job in managing its trees and in ten years the tree lined streets and parks of this community are going to be gorgeous," said Snyder who told the crowd of thirty plus people that he passes through the community quite often and admires the trees. He told them he was pleased to be able to recognize Summit Hill as a "Tree City USA" participant for the fifth year and explained there were several criteria that needed to be met in order to receive such recognition.

"The National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA Program has four requirements in order for a town to receive its commendation each year. First, the community must have a tree board or commission. The town also needs to adopt a set of ordinances governing the management of trees in the community. Next, there must be a comprehensive plan developed for the care and maintenance of the town's trees as well as an explanation of funding for the program. Finally, the community must hold an annual arbor day program," Snyder said. He pointed out that Summit Hill has successfully met all of the criteria for the last five years which qualifies them not only for the flag that can be flown by the town, but also for the trophy that can be displayed by the town.

Vermillion accepted the awards on behalf of the Commission who is comprised of Mary Ann Szczecina, Mary Helen Shelton, Ann Markey, John Kupec and himself. He noted that Kupec also acts as the group's arborist and he has spent much time learning how to care for and maintain the community's trees.

While the presentation was the highlight of the program, Vermillion opened the event by thanking the community, borough council and Mayor Paul McArdle for their continued support of the tree program in Summit Hill. "This is our eleventh year for holding an arbor day program, and in the past ten years we have planted over 350 trees throughout the borough's parks, streets and recreational areas," he told the audience. "Community support has been great and the town's awareness has been raised as to the benefits of having shade trees and their beauty."

He thanked the many volunteers who helped contribute to the program including members of the commission, the town's cub scouts for their assistance with cleaning up and planting the trees, David Hiles and his company for preparing the sites and digging the holes as well as moving the trees to the correct places as well as all of the people helping to plant the trees after the program.

Trees are planted in the community in the fall and in the spring. The fall plantings are reserved for people who wish to have trees planted along the streets in front of their homes, while the spring plantings are done in the parks and recreational areas as memorials and honorariums. This year 15 memorials were planted in the town's parks, cemeteries and recreational areas.

Some special recognition of these donors was made by Vermillion. He told the audience the Shade Tree Commission was formed by the efforts of the Summit Hill Historical Society and for the past several years, the Society has donated three trees annually in recognition of community leaders. This year the society has chosen to recognize three clergymen, Monsignor J. Francis Haley, Reverend Henry Irving Nicholas and Reverend Edgar W. Koehler. Also Vermillion noted the Summit Hill Lions Club has been a continued supporter of the program and while usually they plant a tree in memory of members who passed away throughout the year, this year they were happy to report no losses so their tree was planted to honor all of the Lions in the community.

Another supporter who has donated several trees over the past six or seven years Vermillion noted is resident Margaret Henry who sponsored two trees this year in memory of Joseph and Anna Henry and Anna Dittmar. Others who donated trees include Robert Szczecina and family in memory of Joseph Gurka, Bernard and Ann Markey in memory of Charles Markey, Summit Hill Community Improvement Organization in honor of the commission, Mary Alice Lindsay in memory of the Earley family, St. Joseph's Church who sponsored two trees one in memory of Helen Chickilly and one in honor of the parish family, Kathy and Bob Crampsie in memory of Jean Mangan and Marilyn Strauss in memory of mother Jean Strauss.

While most of the trees were being planted in the parks, the Szczecina memorial tree was planted at the Little League field, the Crampsie and St. Joseph's trees were planted near the church and the Strauss and Lindsay memorials were planted at the GAR Cemetery.

Vermillion also thanked Thrivent Financial Services of the Lutheran Church for their continued financial support through annual donations to the tree program as well as all of the people who have supported and helped to make the tree program a success.

Following the program, he along with several volunteers took advantage of the beautiful Saturday morning weather to complete the planting of the trees throughout Summit Hill.