After visiting the John Deere Pavilion, I also went to the John Deere World Headquarters.  This is a gorgeous corporate campus, with lakes, swans, walking trails and (of course!) acres of woods for the deer.

The HQ building itself was designed by architect Eero Saarinen, also known for the St. Louis Gateway Arch and Dulles airport.  I know that other buildings have a plaque inside them crediting the architect and builders, but Deere chose a more personal way to commemorate Saarinen’s work.

Outside the main entrance is a tribute which reads:  While selecting the site for these buildings Eero Saarinen was impressed by the trees he found here.  This oak was his favorite.  Today it is gratefully dedicated to his memory.

I am sure that Saarinen would have smiled at knowing that his favorite tree became known as “the Saarinen Oak.”  It was much more meaningful than another plaque, trophy or award to add to the pile of accolades.

The next time you want to give an acknowledgement that really matters, listen to the person you are trying to thank.  I’ll bet you’ll learn of their favorite ____, and then it’s easy to take it from there.

— beth triplett


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