Fam­ily over­whelmed af­ter stranger saves me­mo­rial on tree

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

An Ot­tawa fam­ily says it is over­whelmed with grat­i­tude af­ter a stranger saved a road­side me­mo­rial to a loved one that was on a tree slated for re­moval.

That tree, known to the fam­ily as “Stef’s tree,’’ bore a me­mo­rial on its trunk to Ste­fan Trynda, a 19-year-old man who died af­ter crash­ing into it in 2001.

Af­ter stand­ing along a road in Ot­tawa’s south end for years, the ash tree re­cently fell vic­tim to the de­struc­tive emer­ald ash borer beetle and died.

A few weeks ago the City of Ot­tawa dis­patched Blake Mur­ray and his crew to cut down seven ash trees in the south end, with “Stef’s tree’’ among them.

When Mur­ray ar­rived, he saw one of the trees had a white cross nailed to it. He knew it was im­por­tant, he said, but not to whom.

“We fig­ured we’d bet­ter save it,’’ Mur­ray said in an in­ter­view.

So Mur­ray and his team cut down only the top por­tion of the tree, above the white cross. One of his co-work­ers then sug- gested adding to the me­mo­rial, so Mur­ray used his chain­saw to carve a sec­ond cross onto the top of the tree trunk.

“It felt nice to do some­thing nice,’’ Mur­ray said.

News of his good deed spread on Face­book, even­tu­ally reach­ing Trynda’s sis­ter.

“It is beau­ti­ful,’’ an emo­tional Anne- Marie Trynda- Gre­aney said of Mur­ray’s ges­ture.

“It’s such a kind thing to do. You don’t of­ten hear about kind­ness like that, you only re­ally hear about the hor­ri­ble things these days.’’

Trynda had been about 10 min­utes away from home in Fe­bru­ary 2001 when he hit black ice, lost con­trol of his car and hit the tree which nearly got cut down en­tirely, his sis­ter said.

“That tree has be­come a me­mo­rial for my fam­ily and friends,’’ she said. “At the time there were flow­ers and all sorts of things there, but over time that is gone and just a cross re­mains.’’

Trynda was des­tined for great things, his sis­ter said, de­scrib­ing her brother as an ex­cep­tional vi­olin­ist who was study­ing bio­chem­istry at the Univer­sity of Ot­tawa.

Trynda’s par­ents find it too dif­fi­cult to speak about their son pub­licly, and con­tinue to strug­gle with their loss, Trynda-Gre­aney said. But they have been over­whelmed by Mur­ray’s ges­ture, she said.

The tree has given them a sense of peace, she said, a phys­i­cal re­minder of their son’s spirit.

CP PHOTO

Blake Mur­ray, who works for the City of Ot­tawa, stands near the tree he saved and cut a cross into with his chain­saw. An Ot­tawa fam­ily says it is over­whelmed with grat­i­tude af­ter a stranger saved a road­side me­mo­rial to a loved one that was on a tree slated for re­moval. That tree, known to the fam­ily as “Stef’s tree,” bore a me­mo­rial on its trunk to Ste­fan Trynda, a 19-year-old man who died af­ter crash­ing into it in 2001.

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