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Austin’s Tom Spencer: ‘It’s time to plant trees’

By April 23, 2020No Comments

“Plant trees, plant hope.”

That was Tom Spencer’s unembellished message recently.

Spencer, a longtime leader in Austin media, nonprofits, and environmentalism, suffered a serious stroke on Sept. 2. He entered NeuroRestorative, a Round Rock rehabilitation facility, in late November.

He and other patients are currently in lockdown mode for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

These days, Spencer thinks coherently but, because of the stroke, speaks with tremendous difficulty.

“I believe he knows exactly what he wants to say, but his speech limits him,” says his sister, Diana Hoffman. “For such an eloquent person, this is majorly depressing and frustrating.”

Still, his message of support for the new Tom Spencer Million Trees for Austin Fund, organized by TreeFolks, an advocacy nonprofit that he formerly led, came through loud and clear over the phone.

“Austinites are the people I love,” Spencer said not long before the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. “But they feel terrible because of the times. It’s hard to see the future, but trees are a part of that future. It’s a good time to think about rebirth and to make plans. Everybody loves trees. It’s a time to plant trees.”


Written By: Michael Barnes

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