From shoveling to working the turf, landscape professionals from across the country came together Monday to give back at Arlington National Cemetery.
The event, called “Renewal and Remembrance,” is the cemetery’s largest day of landscape service.
“For me, personally, it’s an honor and a privilege to be here,” said Dan Smalt, a retired Navy chief who spent 20 years in the service. He’s out with Blades of Green, a landscape company in Maryland.
“It’s the chance for me to give back. It’s the chance for all of us to give back. We’re very grateful that they allowed us the privilege of doing this,” he added.
Smalt is one of the 400 volunteers working the grounds.
Kelly Wilson, the cemetery’s horticulturist, said the efforts of the volunteers help enhance the more than 200 acres of land. “We have people putting lightning protection in trees; every year we have a children’s program,” she said.
Volunteers will also plant 30 trees and replace slate.
“This is a wonderful partnership between NALP (National Association of Landscape Professionals) and Arlington National Cemetery. These folks are very committed,” she added.
Jeffrey Rossen is with Rossen Landscaping, another local company volunteering for the day. He said Monday is about more than tending to the grounds — it’s a chance for his team to work in a place with so much history and remember all of the sacrifices made.
“We owe it to them to do this,” Rossen said.
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