MILLSBORO, Del. — Dozens of arborists and professionals from three Delaware tree care companies volunteered for the 7th Annual “Saluting Branches” event by devoting a day to trimming, shaping, and removing hazardous trees from the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro. The Delaware site was one of 40 sites throughout the United States that participated in the event, which attracted more than 3,000 volunteers. Workers from Tri-State Tree Care, Complete Tree Care, and Cypress Tree Care spent their entire day as a way to pay tribute to the veterans and their service.
Jay Ashby, who runs Cypress Tree Care and also serves as Chair of Delaware’s Community Forestry Council, called it a “Great day of service for our resting veterans.”
Joe Shoup from Cypress Tree Care was glad to be back after participating in 2019 but having last year’s event canceled because of COVID-19.
“There was a lot of hazard work. They had a lot of dead wood and a lot of dead trees that needed to be taken down. That first year we were able to get a big chunk of work done and as such the trees looked a lot nicer but they were also a lot safer,” Shoup said. “This year… we’re able to do a lot of reduction pruning on these older, more mature oak trees… If we can get here for the next two, three years in a row, we should have this place up to snuff and there shouldn’t be any more hazards left.”
Frank Silva, Jr., who serves as the grounds foreman for Delaware’s Office of Veterans Services, is extremely grateful for the professional expertise and dedication that the workers provide.
“These huge old oaks that are several hundred years old, they’re too large for us to take care of. We don’t have the equipment or the manpower to take care of that and we’re not professional arborists,” Silva said.
“It’s very important to us to keep the place looking pretty good as you can see,” he continued. “It’s a place of honor and respect. We’re all veterans… everyone who works for this commission is a veteran, so it’s an important job to us. And all the work that they do really helps out.”
Silva estimated that almost 6,000 Delaware veterans and spouses are currently interred at the cemetery, which is why it’s so important they and their families continue to have a well-maintained place of honor and respect when they are laid to rest. The Millsboro veterans cemetery covers about 65 acres, of which about 25 acres is currently in use for burials and interments. The site is expected to grow in the years ahead to accommodate future applications.