Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Tree Grows in South Amherst

 Viridian Energy also helped organize the tree planting

Yesterday the Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee, Tree Warden Alan Snow and friends and family of Michael Cann gathered to plant a maple tree in his honor at Groff Park not far from his long time home on Mill Lane.

We are losing an entire generation of solid citizens like Mr. Cann, so adequately dubbed "The Greatest Generation".  In a transient town like Amherst all the more irreplaceable.

After 20 years in Amherst Town Meeting -- nowhere near Michael Cann's 37 year tenure -- very few people attracted my undivided attention when they rose to speak.

Stephen Puffer, Homer Cowles, Howard Ziff and Michael Cann were all on my shortlist.  And now they're all gone.  His strong spirit survived the rise of Hitler in his native land.  He became an American, and then volunteered to fight the monstrous evil that nearly conquered the world.

And Mr Cann never forgot, that freedom is not to be taken for granted.

I will think of him -- and all the good he represents -- whenever we visit Groff Park and look upon his living monument.

As should we all. 

Alan Snow hugs root ball


Anonymous said...

This struck me more than anything else -- and the fact that he retired in 1990 strikes me as significant, that is when Disability Services started going straight to H*ll -- with the Mental Health Service following on its heels....

It is often said that you really don't know what a good staff person does until he isn't doing it anymore, and that appears to be the case here...

he spent the rest of his professional career as a counseling psychologist in the Mental Health Service at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He participated in summer orientation programming for parents and conducted outreach to staff in the residence halls, who liked his practical, down-to-earth manner of working with troubled students. While at UMass he also worked closely with Disability Services and the Foreign Students Office.

Anonymous said...

He is missed and his wife is a wonderful person in her own right.