Garden Club Arbor Day planting honors vet killed in parade

Friday, April 19, 2013
Karen and Mike Lubbers stand next to a double-blooming pink cherry tree planted by the Holiday Island Garden Club on the 9-hole golf course Wednesday in honor of their son, William. He was killed in a veterans' parade train accident in Midland, Texas, in November 2012. Kathryn Lucariello / Carroll County News

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- Members of the Holiday Island Garden Club gathered Wednesday morning to observe Arbor Day by planting a double-blooming pink cherry tree at the 9-hole golf course.

But the occasion was also in memory of the son of two Holiday Island residents, Mike and Karen Lubbers, who was killed last November.

Their son, Army Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, 43, who lived in North Carolina, was a decorated veteran of 24 years, of which 21 were spent as a Green Beret. He served four tours of duty in Afghanistan, where he was wounded once, and a year in Pakistan. He earned three Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, seven Good Conduct medals and other awards. He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit.

In November Lubbers was in Midland, Texas, to take part in a veterans' parade honoring him and 23 others for their military service by an organization called Show of Support Military Hunt, Inc.

During the parade, a train hit their float as it was crossing the tracks. Two veterans were killed at the scene, and Lubbers and another were transported to the hospital, where they later died.

Lubbers left behind his wife, Tiffanie, and two children, Zachary, 18, and Sydnie, 11.

Garden Club members and friends listen as details are read about Army Sgt. Maj. William Lubbers, for whom their Arbor Day tree was planted as a memorial. Kathryn Lucariello / Carroll County News

"As we plant this tree, we pray it will represent the spirit of service which Bill showed throughout his life," said Garden Club President Holly Tabler. "The tree will stand as a symbol of strength and longevity. We hope its beauty will bless all who pass under its branches. Today we plant this tree to honor William Lubbers and show our love for our friends, Karen and Mike."

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