SAVOY, Ill. (WCIA) – Mark Wetzel has planted over 100 trees in Savoy. It’s a title he never thought he would have.

Sarah: “Did you ever think you would be planting more than 100 trees?”
Mark: “No no no no no. It kind of maybe got out of hand a couple times.”

From Oak, to Birch, to Dog Wood. His trees fill Colbert park.

“I don’t think they realize that I do it,” he said. “I think a lot of people just think that. They don’t really think about how trees got there, they just appreciate them and walk on, and that’s fine.”

As you drive in, they line the road, they’re scattered around the pond, and most of them mark the parks property line by the rail road tracks. But no matter where they’re planted, for Mark, they’re deeply rooted.

“Every tree out here has a story. Some of them are pretty short and some of them are pretty long, and I won’t bore you with them unless you ask,” he said. “Some of these trees out here were started from acorns from oak trees from a park that my wife’s family has been having a reunion at for over 100 years.”

So, how did he start planting the trees? Simple, walks with his wife.

“My wife and I moved to the neighborhood back in 2013 and we went for walks in the park, and there weren’t very many trees in the park. So, I like to donate trees for causes, different places,” he said. “So, I thought since I take walks here, I’d rather look at trees that I walk by than ones that I don’t.”

He got permission from people with the city and started digging. Little did he know, he was leaving a legacy for his family.

“This is where I live. So, I’m leaving something behind when I’m done,” he said. “So, there’s a piece of my kids’ family if you will, part of their legacy is growing out here.”

The next time you find yourself walking in the park, or relaxing under the shade of a tree in our town Savoy you can know its story.

The park isn’t the only place he plants trees. He said anytime he sees an empty spot when he’s driving around, he’ll ask if he can plant a Wetzel family tree.