Pine Bluff resident Doris Carter lives in a house that has an oak tree pressed against it and will have it removed at no cost to her.
Carter thanks a collaboration that includes the city of Pine Bluff Code Enforcement Department, the Faith Community Coalition and Alderman Steven Mays. She said she does not have the means to remove the tree herself.
“It is hard for me to keep up with it,” Carter said. “The tree has been leaning for about two years. When we get rain, I can hear it move. Before we know it, it might come down so I am trying to get help.”
Evelyn Horton is the chief housing inspector for the city of Pine Bluff’s Code Enforcement Department. Her colleagues and she help citizens to take care of their properties.
“One of our officers was going to the community doing his job and a citizen shared with him that she had a need,” Horton said. “He brought it back to my attention. I asked two officers to attend the Faith Community Coalition, a group of ministers who come together on a monthly basis and they do outreach services for citizens and they went and they made a presentation. They agreed to take care of this problem for this citizen.”
The Faith Community Coalition found a contractor to get a price to remove the tree, Horton said. The cost is $450. Carter’s pastor gave $100 to defray that cost, Horton said.
“We did our job by reaching out for the services of the community to assist us and by providing a quality service for our citizens,” Horton said.
The Rev. Stephen Harrison is the lead pastor of Family Church at White Hall and serves on the Pine Bluff Faith Community Coalition. The pastors help to provide services to Pine Bluff residents.
“We want to be a blessing to those who are in this community of Pine Bluff, and when there’s a need I think we look for an opportunity to be the church and fill that need and not just say we’re praying for it but to put some action behind that as well,” Harrison said.
The pastors do not usually get a request to remove a tree. They have helped collect shoes and also spearheaded a fund-raising campaign to get championships rings for the Pine Bluff High School football team that won the state championship in 2015.
“This is pretty unique in this particular need,” Harrison said. “We are not necessarily in the tree-removal business; we are in the people-helping business and this just happened to be how this lady needed help.”
Robert Weaver, owner of Weaver Tree Service, visited Carter’s house to inspect the tree and will return to remove it on a day that does not have precipitation.
“We will coordinate with the city and the churches and the organizations involved and then we will set a time to come over and cut the tree down,” Weaver said. “As soon as they can get it done.”
Horton said they had planned to cut it already but delayed it due to the rain and the forecast for sleet and show.