When Norwich Public Works employees went to Preston last month to inquire about a spruce tree offered as a Christmas tree, they didn't realize they were approaching the family of the victim of the well-publicized stairway collapse in New London the day before.
Raymond Deptulski wasn't home when they knocked on his door, but when he heard what they wanted, "Instantly," he said, he decided to donate the tree to Norwich.
"We've lived here most of our lives," he said, "and it's always beautiful, the tree they have, down in the center, and up at the town hall."
His tree is down in the center, at Franklin Square in Norwich, erected Wednesday in memory of his son Johnathan.
"He loved nature, he loved birds and the trees and liked all things with nature," said Deptulski, "so it really was kind of fitting that it would be donated in his memory and stuff. We were really appreciative that they came this year and took it."
He and his wife, June Deptulski, said they'd attend the lighting of the tree the day after Thanksgiving.