Monday, January 14, 2013
Live oak trees are long-lived symbols of wisdom, so a live oak was a particularly fitting tribute to Summerville’s former parks manager Mike Hinson, colleagues said Friday.
They spoke at the town’s annual Arbor Day ceremony, which this year featured the planting of a live oak in Azalea Park near the Cuthbert center.
Hinson, who retired Feb. 29 after 33 years with the town, joked he was just thankful the tree was being planted “in his honor” and not “in his memory.”
Mayor Pro Tem Terry Jenkins credited Hinson with helping rebuild the parks after Hurricane Hugo, and former planning director Joe Christie said Hinson was a good employee, good boss and all-around nice guy.
“Summerville would not be near as beautiful as it is if not for Mike and his crew,” Christie said.
Christie related how “aghast” officials were when they first saw the state Department of Transportation’s plans for Exit 199.
SCDOT envisioned a four-foot concrete median from the Wal-Mart all the way to the Berlin G. Myers Parkway, he said.
“If there was one thing we did not need in that area, it was more concrete,” he said.
SCDOT finally agreed to ditch the all-concrete median, but it said the town would have to take responsibility for landscaping, and Hinson took up that challenge, Christie said.
Former public works director Jerry Blackwell said hiring Hinson was one of the best decisions he made.
Thanks to Hinson, Summerville has one of the better parks system in the state, he said.
“He’s done a fantastic job,” Blackwell said.
And Rev. Mike Shelton of Summerville Presbyterian Church, before giving the benediction, added a personal note.
“If all of us had been given the opportunity to veto Mike’s move, we would have, to keep him here,” he said.
The tree, which is about eight to 10 years old, will have a plaque at its base that will describe Hinson as a “shepherd of the soil.”
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