Cornelius honored with Community Spirit Award at tree giveaway

 

Anthony Ruiz / The Sun-Telegraph

Tree Board Chairman Tom Von Seggern presents Dr. C.J. Cornelius, M.D. with the Community Spirit Award during Saturday's tree giveaway held at the Lodgepole Valley Youth Camp. Cornelius has participated in the giveaway for nearly 30 years, donating trees to Sloan Estates and other assisted living facilities in the area.

During Saturday's tree giveaway and Arbor Day celebration held at the Lodgepole Valley Youth Camp, the City of Sidney Tree Board honored family physician Dr. C.J. Cornelius with the Community Spirit Award in recognition for his commitment to supporting tree planting and care in the area.

Cornelius is a physician who owns a practice specializing in family medicine at 1116 10th Ave. in Sidney.

Tree Board Chairman Tom Von Seggern said Cornelius had been to nearly every tree giveaway and Arbor Day celebration that the City of Sidney has held.

"If not every one," Von Seggern said.

Von Seggern said Cornelius has always taken a tree with him during each giveaway, but not to plant on his property.

"It doesn't end up in his yard," he said. "It ends up at Sloan Estates and various assisted livings around the community."

Von Seggern read the award to the audience, which described Cornelius's donation of trees to Sidney's assisted living facilities every year as "an act of optimism and kindness, a labor of love and a commitment to our community."

"Your sharing example is what inspires others to greatness," Von Seggern continued. "Thank you for all you do."

Cornelius then addressed the crowd, describing himself as "probably the oldest active tree planter in the community."

"My time with the city council predated the Tree City U.S.A., but not my love of trees," he said.

Cornelius gave some background on Sloan Estates, which he said was named in honor of a physician who practiced in Potter "many, many years ago."

"He left a legacy of property which was worth more than a million dollars," he said.

Cornelius said Sloan's great granddaughter set aside a fund for landscaping the area around Sloan Estates, and at that time he and several others took a five-day "Tree University" course to learn about tree planting.

"And that was the beginning of our plantings," he said.

Cornelius said he has been a member of the Arbor Day Foundation for many years and has grown trees that he received from the foundation in his own garden.

"And some of the trees that are out there grew in my garden," he said. "The biggest one is probably the honeysuckle tree that was probably 12 to 15 feet high."

Cornelius said just that week, he had received ten more trees from the foundation that he will grow in his garden before moving over the Sloan Estates. He concluded by thanking the tree board and the Sidney community for the honor.


 

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