Hissongs Announced as City’s First Spirit of Union Winner

Jerry and Shirley Hissong of 309 W. Martindale Road are the first recipients of the Spirit of Union City Improvement Award, a program sponsored by the City of Union’s Park Board designed to encourage exterior enhancements.

Looking at their yard—a bountiful array of geraniums, impatiens, shrubs, and hanging baskets—you’d think the Hissongs have had green thumbs since birth. But Jerry Hissong begs to differ: “If someone told me 10 years ago I’d be planting flowers, I would have said they had rocks in their head!” But new hobbies have a way of “blooming,” and for the Hissongs—Union residents 42 years now—it’s better late than never, as they say.

“Late” might be operative word: Jerry and Shirley have been known to work in their gardens past midnight. Or during the early morning hours they can be seen—mugs of coffee in hand—mulling future floral possibilities.

“Driving down the street in the morning, no matter what kind of mood you’re in, seeing the Hissongs and the beautiful yard they’ve created perks you up. It’s wonderful to see people like Shirley and Jerry taking the time and effort to beautify their property—and it has a ripple effect around the neighborhood,” Union Mayor Bob Packard said.

Each spring, the Hissongs plant 15 to 20 flats of flowers, and up to a dozen hanging baskets are hung from hooks. But they don’t stop there. During a picture-taking session on an August evening, they pointed out new flowers that were going in. Jerry talked about the chrysanthemums he’d be installing in a few weeks. Shirley mentioned that they also enjoy planting flowers around Union Elementary School.

“The Hissongs are a reflection of our community’s spirit. Through them, we can all take pride in our city,” Park Board President Michael O’Callaghan said.

“If our yard gives just one person enjoyment, then we’ve done our job,” Jerry said. “We have a great city here, a town to be proud of, and we’re just pleased to do our part.”