“It’s a great memory of Clarence, and a great way to dedicate a spot in the community during the Christmas time to Clarence for all he did for The Salvation Army and to the community of Grand Haven,” said Josh Brugger, a board volunteer with The Salvation Army of Grand Haven.
The tree is located at the end of Washington Avenue in the Brass River Plaza, between the Tri-Cities Historical Museum Depot and the Chamber of Commerce Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg.
The tree was dedicated during a brief ceremony at the plaza. Capt. Jay Davis of The Salvation Army of Grand Haven said a prayer and dedicated the tree to Poel.
“We are so thankful to his service to (God), to his service to the community and his service to The Salvation Army,” Davis said. “His servant’s heart will be missed.”
Davis said that not only was the tree dedicated in remembrance to Poel, but also to the future of the community, and was hopeful his influence could continue to shape those positively in the community.
Brugger said Poel was instrumental in getting the Tree of Lights placed in the Brass River Plaza for the past two decades.
“Every year for the past 20 years, Clarence would call Dale Kwekel at the Grand Haven Garden House and ask for a tree to be donated,” Brugger said.
Family attending Wednesday’s ceremony said that having this year’s tree dedicated in honor of the man they loved was a special tribute — especially given his dedication to the community.
“Dad was a giver — he liked to do it selflessly, he wasn’t one who liked to crave the spotlight,” Randy Poel said. “But I am sure he’s smiling — he’d be smiling right now.”
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.