Hundreds volunteer at Arlington

July 25, 2013 -  By

More than 400 volunteers from the Green Industry visited Washington D.C. on July 22 to donate time, materials and the use of their equipment to spruce up Arlington National Cemetery during the Professional Landcare Network’s 17th annual Renewal & Remembrance event.

Since its inception, Renewal & Remembrance has contributed more than $2.2 million in time and materials. This year’s projects include lime applications, planting, landscaping, aerating, irrigation repairs and installing tree lightning protection.

Giving this year’s dedication-of-work speech was Vietnam veteran Bob Brophy, director of lawn care products at Turfco Manufacturing. Brophy, who will retire from the equipment manufacturer on Sept. 30, was drafted in 1967 and served as a combat medic, earning a Bronze Start for valor in action.

Brophy has a personal connection to this project, he explained. Of his Army unit of approximately one thousand men, 180 of their names appear on the wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“These next hours we’re going to walk the final resting place of some of the greatest people who ever walked the earth,” Brophy said. “As young men and women they told our country ‘Here is my life. Take it, use it and keep it if you must.’ Many of them gave all. Here at Arlington rest those who gave the last full measure of life so that others can walk free, live full lives, raise children and raise grandchildren … So to all those resting here we say, ‘Thank you.’”

The cemetery’s superintendent also spoke, thanking the volunteers for their yearly efforts.

“We here at Arlington deeply appreciate the material and labor you donate every year,” said Patrick Hallinan, superintendent for Arlington National Cemetery.

He said the 160 employee staff is responsible for caring for 624 acres of cemetery grounds and 16 miles of roads throughout the year.

“This is a major challenge and a major undertaking and we appreciate what you do,” he said. “We recognize Arlington as a sacred place for Americans and welcome those who wish to contribute their time and talent by volunteering at the cemetery. The PLANET Renewal & Remembrance project is a premier example of everyday citizens rolling up their sleeves and donating their skills and resources for a day, to help preserve the dignity and beauty of our national treasure.

“There are times in life when we look back and wonder have we done the good or right thing. Today each of you knows in your mind and your heart and your soul that you are doing the right thing.”

Renewal & Remembrance was followed by legislative briefings in preparation for the next day’s Legislative Day on the Hill event, where some landscape professionals made visits to see their lawmakers.

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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