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Charleston woman makes effort to preserve historic Dogwood Tree

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 9:56 PM CDT
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CHARLESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, in the case for a Charleston Woman, she’s working to preserve a historic dogwood tree in memory of her father.

“I just want the tree to live. I can’t have my dad but I can have the tree,” Sandy Coffer-Ruff said.

The 32 ft long and 39 ft wide tree is located at Coffer-Ruff’s childhood home in Charleston.

She said her father, Henry Coffer, took care of the tree up till his last breath.

“It feels like my dad’s tombstone,” Coffer-Ruff said.

She’s concerned it may be damaged due to work on the side walk that was done by the state.

“I want the tree to live so my great grandkids can see it,” Coffer-Ruff said.

She said the sidewalk construction, just steps from the front door, started about a month ago.

Around that time is when she noticed the bark falling apart, clipped branches and tree roots nearby.

“This isn’t normal. You shouldn’t be able to do that to a tree. Other side there is a big crack,” Coffer-Ruff said.

For help, she reached out to conservations experts.

She was told factors such as bugs and the trees size can be a threat, on top of added stress from construction.

“I just look at it every day. I just feel like if the tree dies then it’s like my dad’s funeral all over again,” Coffer-Ruff said.

Ruff said she is willing to raise money to pay for potential damages to the tree, but she hopes to prevent the tree form getting any worse.

“I’m not worried about state championship. I just want to save my tree,” Coffer-Ruff said.

We made efforts to reach out to the Missouri Department of Transportation, they did not have any comments.

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