Evergreens popping up around town

Diboll’s history has always been tied to trees.  And lately, new trees have been sprouting around town.  But these are a little different.  They’re made of metal.
The idea for the trees came from the Design 4 Diboll committee, a group of citizens appointed by Mayor John McClain.  The mission of this group is to promote the town and to make marketing recommendations to the city council.
“This is what is called a ‘branding tool’ for our city,” explained Jan Wilkerson, secretary of the D4D committee. “They are patterned on the same concept as the 650-pound concrete tomatoes in Jacksonville.”
Because Jacksonville is known for its tomatoes, businesses and individuals display the huge sculptures to show pride and solidarity in their city.  They are painted and/or decorated in any way the owners desire, but they all symbolize community spirit.
“It was just natural to use a pine tree to represent Diboll,” said Wilkerson.  “From its very beginning, our town was built around the lumber industry with the company that came to be Temple-Inland originally called Southern Pine Lumber Company.  And of course, the pineywoods are a constant attraction to outsiders.”
Committee member and DISD Superintendent Gary Martel worked with the high school agriculture department on designing and building a prototype of the tree.  The final product is approximately 5 feet tall and can be free-standing when staked to the ground, “planted” in a big pot, or secured to a post or wall.
“They are cut from a solid piece of quarter-inch sheet metal,” said Martel.  “Our Ag department has the ability to program the design into a computer and have it cut precisely with a plasma cutter.”
Martel went on to say that this is a good project for the students to apply the skills they learn in metalworking class and contribute to the community at the same time.  The project also allows for some money to be added to the FFA scholarship fund.
“We charge $100 per tree basically in order to recover the cost of the metal,” he said.
Orders can be placed with Martel at the DISD administration office by calling 829-4718.  The timeline for completing orders will vary according to the demand and the class schedule.  Summer orders are also welcomed, with work commencing when students return to school at the end of August.
Each tree is delivered weatherproofed and painted but can easily be personalized by the owner.  This could include adding a name, a business, an address, or any design that is wanted.
Some of the finished trees can be seen at Pouland’s The Everything Store, at Sandra Pouland Real Estate, on South Meadows Drive, and in the Deer Trace subdivision.
“We hope they really catch on,” said Wilkerson.  “It would be great to see them in front of every business and at as many residences as possible.  We want to make an impact on visitors who come through our town and have our residents rally to show community pride.”