Lewes Mayor Jim Ford was honored for 22 years of service to the city April 25, when a tree was planted in his name at the city's annual Arbor Day celebration.
The red dogwood resides along the northern edge of George H.P. Smith Park near the corner of Johnson and DuPont avenues. A plaque will soon accompany the tree.
Ford has served as the city's mayor since 2004. Prior to that, he spent 12 years as a city councilman.
Ford has been a champion of the city's tree efforts, helping maintain Lewes' Tree City USA status during his entire tenure as mayor. The city was recently honored for the 13th straight year.
Following the recitation of poems by Councilwoman Bonnie Osler and parks and recreation chair Carol Richardson, Mayor-elect Ted Becker spoke about the significance of the city choosing a red dogwood to commemorate Ford's contributions to Lewes.
"You'll find it used in carpentry tools, such as the handles of hammers,” he said. “I thought it appropriate they selected this tree.”
Ford is a contractor who specializes on historic homes. He was recently honored for his work to preserve the city's history as mayor and a contractor at the Lewes Historical Society's Preservation Awards.
Becker also found a connection between Ford and the leaders of our country. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted dogwoods at their estates, and Jefferson even wrote about the tree's vibrancy in the spring.
Ford will officially pass the torch to Becker at the Monday, May 19 city council meeting. With his upcoming spare time, Ford said he plans to get out fishing more often, which creates another connection to the dogwood tree planted in his honor.
“They say when the dogwood blooms the trout are around,” he said.