Volunteers head for Abraham Lincoln cemetery

The biggest crew of volunteers yet will head to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery next week for an annual event to improve the cemetery landscape, and they could use some water and ice.

Professional arborists across the country donate time, equipment and expertise each year for a national volunteer effort called “Saluting Branches” in which they cut down dead trees, plant new ones and provide other landscaping services at the nation’s veterans cemeteries.

“We probably are going to have right around 100 individuals,” said Joliet City Arborist Jim Teiber, who organizes “Saluting Branches,” now in its fifth year, for Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood. “That’s 30 or 40 more than what we had last year. It’s probably three times what we had when we first started.”

One example of the work being done Wednesday is the removal of a large oak tree that Teiber said would otherwise would cost $2,000 to $3,000 to remove.

Located near the main shelter at the cemetery, the dead oak tree poses a hazard.

A number of nurseries are donating trees. Landscape companies and three cities are donating staff and equipment. A restaurant is even donating lunch.

But Teiber said he could use some more donations.

“I need water. I need ice. I could use coffee, too,” he said.

Teiber said that anyone interested in making a donation is advised to call the city Roadways Division at 815-724-3650.