MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Sue Bradley doesn’t forget August 17th. She remembers the sound. “It was like a thump. That’s all I heard.” What she heard was a 100-year-old oak tree collapsing. Wind and rain brought the end to a piece of timber that was around for all the world wars in the last century. Little did Sue Bradley know that it would mean the start of her own war.
She paces off the length of the old oak tree, and it’s a long trek. “It snapped a utility pole that led to my house,” she said. She continued walking up the street about fifty yards from where the stump remains and says “It ran all the way up to this point.”
Memphis Public Works employees came out the next day and chopped most of the tree up, removing the wood. The stump remained, however. She was told that she was responsible for removing the stump and fixing the sidewalk. “It uprooted the sidewalk,” Bradley said. A tree cutting service told her that it would cost between $1,800 and $2,500 to remove the stump. “I have no idea how much it will cost to fix the sidewalk,” she says.
What has happened in the last few months has shattered Bradley’s life. Her husband died two months ago. Her homeowners insurance will pay $500 to remove the tree, not nearly enough. She makes ends meet by working as a convenience store cashier. “I feel like I’ve been run over,” she said. “I don’t know which way to turn. That’s why I called you. I figured maybe you could tell me who to call or what to do because I don’t know.”
This is a story about not giving up. Most people in Memphis are fighters. They fight to make a buck, fight to survive in a city where crime seems around most corners, fight to get help when they feel they’re being ignored. Sue Bradley didn’t give up. We called Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s office. A code enforcement employee took a photo of the tree, and determined that the stump is in the city’s right of way. They are responsible for removing it, and fixing the sidewalk.
Meanwhile, we’ll keep you posted on when they get to work.