Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kings Forest Resident Luis Ortiz Provides His Crew to Plant 50 Donated Trees; Plans to Donate 50 More

Luis Ortiz, Kings Forest Section 2, is an inspiring model of genuine civic spirit and generosity.

Out of a desire to contribute to neighborhood revitalization efforts, Ortiz volunteered to pick up the 50 trees that had been donated to Kings Forest by Tree Town USA at the request of City Councilman Mike Sullivan. Jan Mohr, Chair of our HS Construction Committee, worked out the details with Ortiz on timing.

Not only did Ortiz arrange to transport the trees from Richmond, he donated the landscaping crew, the auger to drill the holes, and mulch. All 50 trees were planted yesterday.

KFCA President Kevin Morley explains. “During Hurricane Ike, Luis used his crews to remove debris from his neighbor’s yard. When I heard about his great attitude, I thought: ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’ I approached him about picking up the donated trees for the high school parking lot. Luis responded, ‘not only will I pick them up, I will plant them.’”

“We were excited, but considering how the economy has impacted many of our businesses, we could only wait and hope,” said Morley. “He came through for us beyond our expectations.”

Ortiz also has reiterated his commitment to buy an additional 50 trees to donate to Kings Forest.

“The board and Maintenance Committee have talked about placing some of these trees at Woods Estates (when Bear Branch Trails Association completes its vine removal later this year) and some at Shady Run,” said Morley. “Because these areas don’t have irrigation, the best time to plant will be in the fall. We’ll continue to work with Luis, and before we make final decisions, propose a few alternatives and survey residents on their preferences.”

Residents will recall that the donated trees for the high school area were to supplant those installed by the school district along the perimeter of the Kingwood High School parking lot (for background, see earlier story). Councilman Sullivan approached Tree Town USA, which responded with a generous donation of 50 trees. All KFCA had to do was transport the trees from Richmond, dig the holes, and get them planted.

Jan Mohr soon discovered that 50 trees require a big flatbed trailer and truck, lots of manpower, an auger to dig the holes in the hard ground, and more manpower to plant and mulch. And Jan’s budget to get this done – zero!

“Given our budget constraints, Luis’s gift to our community is a godsend,” said Morley. “When I asked him why he was doing this, he replied: ‘I’m grateful to this country for the wonderful life I’ve been able to create for my family. I wanted to give something back.’”

Morley also expressed the board’s gratitude to Jan Mohr and Vicki and Dick Stewart.

“Jan didn’t give up,” he said. “She’s been quietly working on a solution for several months.

“And when I went by the high school after the trees were planted, there was Vicki, covered in mud, dragging around a hose to water the newly planted trees,” said Morley.

“This is the best of Kings Forest – neighbors with a positive, can-do attitude who quietly pitch in and get things done.”