When Ed Suokko and his wife Denise planted their spruce tree on their
front lawn, little did they know that it would grow to monstrous
proportions, be cut down and its root system enshrined as a seasonal
monument that pays homage to front line health-care workers.
After several attempts at excavating the gnarly root system, Suokko
gave up and decided to use the stump and root system as a base for
Today, it is the foundation of a yard-wide display of gratitude from
the community for front-line health-care workers.
“Mr. Hydro came by and said, ‘Sir that spruce tree is hitting the wires
and we have to cut it down,’” said Suokko.
After the tree was removed, the stump remained.
“I started digging it up and I wondered, ‘where do all these roots
go?’” So I kept digging and digging and I spent countless hours,” he
Suokko didn’t have the heart to do anything else with it, so he kept
adding to it.
‘It became my Halloween tree, at Christmas it became a Christmas time
tree, then it became a Valentines tree,” he laughed. “And now it’s the
nurse’s front-line workers tree.”
Suokko has incorporated full-page testimonial pages printed in The
Chronicle-Journal that feature local businesses who have used the pages
to express their gratitude for these people on the front line.
Beginning from the tree stump and spilling across his yard are the
cardboard-mounted pages of the newspaper’s full page testimonials.
“Our next door neighbour works in the ICU unit (Thunder Bay Regional
Health Sciences Centre intensive care unit),” he said welling up. “I
don’t know how she goes in there every day knowing what she’s facing.
She works a 12 -hour shift, leaves the hospital, takes all her gear
off, then she comes home, sanitizes her car. . . that’s got to be an
hour process everyday. So I put all of this up out of respect for her
and her co-workers.”