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DeLand tornado victims can receive free trees through city giveaway

City giving away trees beginning Nov. 9

DeLAND, Fla. – What’s left of Rebecca Courville’s yard almost three months after an EF-2 tornado ripped through her DeLand neighborhood looks nothing like she the landscape that made her fall in love with the property.

“The main things that drew me to the house was the big trees, the Spanish Oak. It was just Florida. I just loved everything about it and now, it kind of looks depressing,” he said.

She lost several trees including one that crashed through her house on East Washington Avenue, leaving behind a huge hole. While she’s currently working to fix her roof, Courville said revamping her yard is also high on her to do list.

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“The trees make a difference. They really do,” she said.

With help from the City of DeLand which is known as Tree City USA, Courville will be able to pick up free trees at the Leigh Matusick Airport Management Center starting next Monday.

“Our residents went through a pretty stressful event with the tornado in August and we’ve been trying to think of ways that we can help them out,” said DeLand city spokesman Chris Graham.

Graham said they purchased the 500 trees for their annual tree giveaway but cancelled the event due to the pandemic. He said while the city can’t help the residents financially, he hopes the trees will ease the burden.

“We’re just trying to think of ways, how can we make a positive out of this event and I think this will be a great way to do it,” said Graham.

Courville said she’s very appreciative of the gesture and will be taking the city up on its offer.

“We’re happy for every little bit, honestly. It will definitely make a much-needed improvement over here and get our street back to looking somewhat normal,” said Courville.

The tree giveaway will run from Nov. 9-13 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at Leigh Matusick Airport Management Center (1000 Flightline Blvd).


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