Story by Lourice Angie
Members of the Orange County Planning Department, local Town and elected officials, and members of the community gathered at Stanley-Deming Park on Thurs., Nov. 29 to honor longtime Warwick resident Susan Metzger for her dedicated service throughout the years.
When one thinks of all the selfless people who contribute to making the community a great place, one can immediately identify people whose talents and efforts are used each day to help improve the quality of life – local police officers, EMT, firefighters, teachers, veterans, and local officials to name a few. Then, there are those who aren’t immediately recognized for their service or timeless efforts, but are indeed, a crucial part of the community.
Dr. Susan G. Metzger happens to be one of these people, having dedicated nearly 20 years of service to the community. Metzger is the former owner of Lawler, Matusky and Skelly Engineers, LLP, now part of HDR/LMS, an environmental science and engineering firm. She was responsible for large-scale planning and environmental projects including the Comprehensive Port Improvement Plan for the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the Hudson Raritan Estuary Restoration Plan for the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
Dr. Metzger has published many technical articles and has been a member of the Orange County Planning Board since 2000, where she has served as its chair since 2003. Metzger is an honorary trustee and a past president of the Orange County Citizens Foundation, where she continues to serve as chair of the Environmental Committee. She is past president of Hudson River Environmental Society and she also served on the Warwick Valley Central School District Board from 1986 until 1992.
Dr. Metzger earned her bachelor’s degree from Hood College and her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany. In addition, she received her master’s in Public Administration from the Wagner School of New York University. She currently serves on the MTA Board and on the Board of the Warwick Historical Society.
Honorary Tree Planting Ceremony
The frigid temps did not compare to the heartfelt warmth throughout the crowd that gathered at Stanley-Deming Park. Commissioner David Church of the O.C. Planning Department opened the special tree planting ceremony and commended Metzger for all of her work throughout the years.
“I want to acknowledge staff that helped set this up – Kelly Morris, Ellen Russell, Pete Brutal, and Mary Louis. We did a lot of good work. Susan – thank you for mentoring me through some of this. We rewrote the County Comprehensive Plan and got open space funding going,” said Church.
A large scarlet oak tree, one or her favorite trees, was planted in her honor. The ceremony took place just a few feet away from where a beautiful red maple tree was planted for her late husband, Roger Metzger, who passed away in October. Roger was a devoted and well respected member of the Warwick community and the Village of Warwick Shade Tree Commissioner for 43 years Both Roger and Susan shared a deep, rooted love for trees and each dedicated time to saving, planting and protecting them.
Dr. Metzger addressed those gathered saying, “I’m thrilled. I think this is wonderful – having my tree planted next to my husband’s. I had fun being the County Planning Board Chair. We did a lot of comprehensive plans and had a really good Board, and the Planning Department is excellent,” said Susan Metzger
Officials Share Special Words
“This is a wonderful honor for you and for us, having this tree here. Susan, thank you for all the work you’ve done for the County and beyond. Not only for the County Planning, but for the Citizens Foundation and everything you do for the MTA. I’m glad to say that you are a Village resident and we are so proud of you,” said Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton also commended Metzger during the ceremony saying, “I think it’s terrific that we’re honoring you with a tree here in the Roger Metzger Arboretum. It will be a focal point enjoyed for generations. You are the epitome of a good citizen. You not only excel professionally, but you gave back to the community in so many ways, locally and on a county level. You’re intelligent, thoughtful, and you work through issues. You’ve left your mark on this County. You should be proud and we’re very proud of you.”
County legislator Barry Cheney was joined by fellow legislators John Vero and Paul Ruszkiewicz to present Dr. Metzger with a special certificate thanking her for her many years of service to the County and the impact it’s had.
Deputy County Executive Harry Pour brought a special greeting from Lt. Commander O.C. County Executive Steve Neuhaus, who couldn’t make it to the ceremony because he is currently preparing to be deployed to the Middle East. Pour commented on Metzger’s work with the MTA.
“You went from this very humble beginning of our representation and have brought such dignity and intelligence to that work. That work is now so important and we have such a vital voice on the MTA Board now because of you. We thank you for that,” said Pour.
Dr. Susan Metzger closed the ceremony saying, “I appreciate all your good words but none of this could of happened without the Planning Department and the department staff, and a Board that worked really hard. Everybody had their own interests and everyone represented a different part of the County. We didn’t always agree with each other. In fact, we disagreed often, because we were all pulling for the hometown. But In the end we got a lot accomplished and I’m very proud of it. I am proud to have worked with David and with this department. So thank you all very much.”