A Small Town Holiday Story
The holidays are a time when we remember those we’ve lost and the memories we’ve shared with them. Many of you may have known Dean Maddalena. He was born and raised here. He went to school here. He raised his family here, and he worked in our community. He spent his last years working for Graeagle Land & Water as our lead construction and maintenance manager. His title didn’t do him justice. He did EVERYTHING! He was a gifted, resourceful, problem-solving craftsman. So many things that he built remain in town as his lasting legacy.
Every year he would select the most perfect Christmas tree for Plumas Bank. Graeagle Land & Water would cut dozens of Christmas trees from their land to donate to charities and give to their staff. Dean would pick out a tree and take it to the bank. The staff at Plumas Bank was always thrilled with his selection and seeing him bring it into the bank was a great start to the holiday. They quickly named it the “Deano Tree” and looked forward to his delivery every year.
Dean’s sudden passing in August of 2017 left our community shocked and deeply saddened. His funeral services hosted over 500 friends and family and were a true testament to the incredible human being he was.
When the first Christmas arrived after his death, GLW received a call. It was Rachelle from Plumas Bank inquiring about the Deano Tree. They had no idea that Dean had been doing this for his community. This was no surprise to Rachelle as she is one of Dean’s very close friends and she knew he would never want or need any credit for the act. GLW insisted on keeping the Deano Tree tradition alive.
Each year they cut a tree in his memory and deliver it to the bank. You won’t see a plaque or sign with his name on it. It sits majestically, tall, and proud as a quiet reminder of the man who is so deeply missed by an entire community.
So, if you go into the bank this holiday season, take a moment to look at the Deano Tree and remember him as the man who spread the Christmas spirit with quiet acts of kindness.
Before his passing Dean and his siblings, Michelle and Larry started a scholarship foundation in their mother’s name; Susie Maddalena. If you’d like to make a donation to the scholarship fund you can do so at Plumas Bank. Michelle and Larry also host a scholarship golf tournament each summer on the July 4th weekend.