Posted on Nov 07, 2021
Rotary Club of Guelph South is proud to be one of the sponsors for the OneBenchOneTree installation at Guelph General Hospital - a project aimed at expressing gratitude to frontline healthcare workers, providing a place where they can take a break from their battle against the pandemic and know their efforts are appreciated by the greater community. The essence of the event is best captured in the speech to the hospital staff from OneBenchOneTree: 
"At the start of the pandemic, anxieties were flaring and paths were yet to be trail-blazed, but there was never a question of whether you would show up for work. Long nights and early mornings, with shortages of beds and a capacity far too high, still you did your job, risking your lives every day for us. This action did not go unnoticed, we know you are tired, we know you are putting your life at risk every time you walk through these doors. And, in a time of controversy, where the few but most polarizing voices tend to yell the loudest, OneBenchOneTree speaks up to give our thanks. At this bench and tree, you can rest, exhale deeply and close your eyes. If this gift gives you even just one moment of healing in your hectic lives, we will have achieved our goal. Even if you don’t ever sit on this bench, as you go to work every day, as you walk by, please be reminded that we are thankful for you, that Guelph is thankful for you, that Ontario and Canada are thankful for you. As a final note, whenever you are discouraged, I hope that this gift reminds you that you are noticed and you are cared for. I hope you can use this gift to take what you deserve, a moment of rest."
David Turvey, Chair of the Environment Committee, remarked:
“Our Environment Committee heard about OneBenchOneTree and the wonderful work they're doing and immediately thought of our local hospital. We respect the hard work of our front-line workers and helping provide a nature-based respite for them during their busy days is an exciting opportunity for us.”
The concept for OneBenchOneTree came about when a group of landscape architecture masters students at the University of Guelph got together during the winter break to discuss how they could show their appreciation for the efforts of front-line healthcare workers.