New York (WXYZ) - When the Twin Towers fell ten years ago Ann Mayle knew somehow, someday, some way she would help the world heal.
After all, she knew a few things about grief and healing. She built a company around the whole idea.
Tree Huggers . It was a simple idea born out of tragedy. Ann started thinking about it in high school when she lost friends in a car crash; when the inevitable pile of Teddy Bears and handwritten notes at the scene was scooped up by the city and thrown away.
Ann knew there had to be a better, more enduring way to memorialize such tragedies. "If we could plant a tree," she explains, "and put a name on the tag and we make it a living legacy. How powerful for the joy and the grievance and remembrance."
Tree Huggers are a simple engraved stainless steel plaque, affixed by a spring designed to expand as the tree grows. She knew it was the perfect idea for the 9/11 memorial in New York at Ground Zero. But she never figured the designers would consider a little company in Michigan for such a grand plan so she never submitted a bid.
To her surprise this summer, they called her.
"I thought it was a joke." She laughs. "Then they said we really like your tree tag, your Tree Hugger is a great idea. Its exactly what we're looking for."
So come September 11th, 225 trees at Ground Zero will be wrapped with Ann's Tree Huggers. They'll be engraved with only a number that will allow hundreds of anonymous donors to find the trees at the memorial their generosity helped plant.
"I'm humbled, I'm shocked." Ann says. "But I prayed about it. Specifically, persistently and passionately."