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Tree-mendous gesture: Permanent tree donated for Chicago Heights Christmas celebration

Bill Liszkleft from RobinsEngineering Interim Director Streets Sewers for Chicago Heights Joann Doggett Director C.D.B.G. Andy Suppess foreman for Streets

Bill Liszka, left, from Robinson Engineering and Interim Director of Streets and Sewers for Chicago Heights, Joann Doggett, Director of C.D.B.G. and Andy Suppess, foreman for Streets and Sewers, stand near the tree that Doggett donated to the city at City Hall in Chicago Heights, IL on Thursday November 29, 2012. It will be used as the city's Christmas tree. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 10, 2013 6:08AM



For years, staging the annual Chicago Heights Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony required a city resident to sacrifice one of his or her own trees for the celebration.

Thanks to a donation from city employee Joann Doggett, Chicago Heights now can rely on one Christmas tree for years to come.

Doggett — who directs the community development block grant program, which addresses various development needs — donated one of three towering, 40-foot pine trees in front of her Chicago Heights home to city hall.

The tree originally was planted 25 years ago, when Doggett was pregnant with her daughter Suzanne.

Her idea to donate the tree was hatched about a month ago when Doggett was working with streets and sewer foreman Andy Suppes on a street-paving project. Suppes, who has played Santa Claus at city events for years, said he needed to find a Christmas tree for the big tree-lighting event.

Doggett was willing to donate a tree, but instead of chopping one down — a routine practice in the past — the city took a greener path. It paid Big Trees, of Minooka, $700 to dig Doggett’s tree up from her front lawn, roots and all, and transplant it in front of city hall, where it will stay for many years and Christmases to come.

The procedure took about three days. It was completed Nov. 26, in plenty of time for the Dec. 3 tree-lighting celebration.

“My house looks a little bit bare,” Doggett said, “but I feel honored.”



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