By Dave Fidlin
In a happenstance moment of nature, it was taken down.
But a tree that was planted in an 11-year-old Union Grove boy’s honor will soon rise again to continue commemorate his brief — but impactful — life.
Family members of Ryan Luxem recently reached out to Union Grove officials and inquired about the status of the tree that had been planted at Moe Young Park, the 3.5-acre green space located on 67th Drive, just north of Mill Avenue.
Village President Steve Wicklund, who discussed the matter with his elected colleagues at the Village Board’s most recent meeting Aug. 22, said the original tree had to be addressed after a freakish force of nature.
“That tree had been struck by lightning,” Wicklund said. “We had the tree removed, and there was always a plan to have it replaced.”
Based on recent dialogue with the Luxems, Wicklund indicated a memorial group organized in Ryan’s honor is in the process of fundraising for a new tree, which will be planted at the same exact spot within Moe Young Park.
Wicklund said the full board agreed they were happy to do whatever possible to ensure the new tree is planted as swiftly as possible.
The decision, Wicklund said, was “a no-brainer” and easily was the quickest and simplest motion to make at the recent board meeting.
“Obviously we’re going to put the tree in,” Wicklund said. “What kind of people would we be if we didn’t do that? They’re going to pick out a new tree, we’re going to pick it up and dig that hole for them.”
Ryan Luxem died Dec. 29, 2010 after enduring a long and courageous battle with leukemia. At the time of his passing, Ryan was a sixth-grader at Union Grove Elementary School.