Keeping a legacy alive; volunteers needed to care for reclaimed grove

Most of us when we pass a scruffy bunch of dying citrus trees would just keep on going, but not Patrick Simone.

Simone saw an opportunity and brought a fading patch of land in Goodyear back to life.

Now, in the wake of his tragic death his wife wants to carry on his work.

Some people just have a feel for the land and Simone was one of them. When he passed by the trees near Cotton Lane and Indian School a couple of years ago, he stepped in to save them. Now, they need other folks to step in and help out.

Patrick Simone's mission in life was to take care of things. The Simone family breathed new life into the trees at what was once Duncan Farms, but Patrick died tragically in a car accident on February 20th.

His wife Somlynn Rorie wants to continue his work.

"What I would like is a collaborative effort, with me and a member of the council to come up with an idea to safeguard the trees... and the harvest, we will donate them to the needy, that was something that was very important to Patrick," said Somlynn Rorie.

A few weeks ago she appealed to the Goodyear City Council. "I come to you today with the most heartfelt desire to seem Patrick's vision for the orchard fulfilled," she said.

Somlynn hopes people will think of this little grove as part of Patrick Simone's legacy.

"The ultimate would be to have these trees, this place to remember the goodwill of the common person, and their desire to do good in the community," said Rorie.

The City of Goodyear owns the land and says it will continue to provide water for the trees.

The city also issued this statement:

"First and foremost, we want to sincerely thank Ms. Somlynn Rorie for her appearance at a recent City Council meeting and her passion to continue the legacy of her late husband, Mr. Patrick Simone.

As far as the current state of the property and citrus trees, the city provides access to water and will continue to do so.

Staff has reached out to organizations in hopes of finding volunteers willing to harvest and deliver the fruit to a food bank - something that the late Mr. Simone coordinated. We have not been able to find such a group, but we are hopeful we will.

If any person or organization is interested in volunteering their time to continue Mr. Simone's work, please have them contact Goodyear's Parks and Recreation Department at 623-882-7616 or visit www.goodyearaz.gov/parks."

Rorie also is part of a Facebook page trying to gain help for the cause, for more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Saving-the-orchard/148901048643167?pnref=story

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