Great White Oak Tree Planting Dedication Ceremony
By Deanna Keough, PPh Blog Contributor
A tree planting dedication was held on June 24th to commemorate The Philadelphia Protestant Home’s Quasquicentennial. A White Oak, chosen for its distinguishing traits, is symbolic to the Home’s prevailing history, strong foundation and anticipation for a prosperous future. The ceremony began with Anthony Manzo, PPh President and CEO, who welcomed all in attendance and expressed his gratitude for the many individuals and organizations, both past and present, who have given contributions of time, talent and treasure – all resulting in the transformation of PPh. Anthony recognized the generosity of Jim Sharp from Sharp’s Landscaping for donating the beautiful tree that now stands in front of the Lawndale Manor independent living building.
Russ Koerwer, Chairperson of the PPh Board of Directors, spoke of the significance of the ceremony to the Home’s 125th anniversary. Russ described the Oak’s physical characteristics; its extraordinary roots which grow faster than the above ground tree and solidly anchor the White Oak, its familiar acorns which are a common food source to many birds and animals and the slow and steady growth of the Oak which is the reason for its remarkable longevity, living up to hundreds of years.
Following Russ were the readings of two poems. Darrah Degnan, PPh resident and volunteer, read “Advice from a Tree” by Ilan Shamir and Deanna Keough, PPh Assistant Director of Individual Giving read “The White Oak” by Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr.
“A tree planting is symbolic of all things new… as we set down new roots during our milestone year, we rededicate ourselves to the vision of our founding fathers,” stated Anthony Manzo, who went on to read the newly adopted mission statement of The Philadelphia Protestant Home:
“Guided by Christian values, the mission of The Philadelphia Protestant Home is to provide a caring senior living community that affords its residents the opportunity to achieve their highest possible quality of life.”
Next was the unveiling and reading of the plaque by Diane Nawn, PPh Vice President of Fund Development, along with Anthony’s final remarks, “Let this tree be a growing reminder to every person who enters our community to continue the tradition of dedication, commitment, thoughtfulness and generosity which has guided us here today.”
The ceremony concluded with a Benediction given by PPh Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Jack Price, which was a final touch to a profound occasion.