14 Jan Victory Gardens Improvement Project
The team at Sun Valley Landscaping/Commit20 believes strongly in the foundation of giving back to the Omaha community that has given us so much over our 20 years of business. Community service is part of the “The Sun Valley Way”, our promise we make to each other and to the world. These values guide our decision making everyday and are the basis for who we hire and how we strive to be a leader in our city and in our community. One of the ways we giveback to the community is through the support of our veterans. On October 25, 2014, in accordance with “Make a Difference Day,” Sun Valley partnered with The Big Green Garden, America First Property Management, Serve Nebraska, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, AmeriCorps Nebraska, and The Home Depot Foundation to build a better environment through the Victory Garden Improvement Project. Victory Apartments are a housing community for military veterans who have faced homelessness. The results from this development encouraged veterans to become more involved in gardening and support the growth of foods that will decrease grocery bills for the veterans housed in this complex. Furthermore, the enhancements provided a more functional and entertaining space for tenants to work and relax.
The development was completed in two phases and it wouldn’t have been conceivable without a $2,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation, the donation of 2 Ornamental Crab Trees from Indian Creek Nursery and 6 Fruit Trees from Mulhall’s Nursery. In addition, 27 volunteers contributed their time and skill sets to complete this project; 7 of them being employees of Sun Valley.
Through the progression of two phases on October 25th, 2014 and May 30th, 2015, and a total of 10 hours of donated service, a new landscaped garden area was added to the Victory Apartment complex which included a new fire pit with an enclosed seating area, 12 fruit and conifer trees, a grape vine with 12 stained posts and a mulched garden area to grow grape plants and future vegetables. The most complicated challenge we faced while completing the construction of the groundwork was the struggle to dig holes into what used to be an empty lot. Our team ran into old foundation, brick, rocks and concrete underneath the top layer of grass.
Sun Valley Landscaping donated two pieces of equipment including a skid loader and a concrete mixer to help the completion of phase one. In addition to the skilled labor, we also donated soil and mulch from our supply yard. Our CEO, Paul Fraynd created the blueprint to outline the design of the project. Our Landscape Crew Leader, Jerrod Combs, was in charge of building the fire pit and encircling bench, in addition to running the crew of volunteers for each individual project. Mitch Decker, our Detail Crew Leader, directed the team in planting 12 trees, while landscaper Rudy Ramos wired all the grape vines in order to plant grape vines.
The Victory Gardens Improvement Project increased the community awareness of the apartment’s services to the veteran community and helped to create a sense of pride within the community of residents living in the complex. “All of us really cared about this project because it’s going to improve the home of each veteran and help them adapt back into the world,” explained Crew Leader, Jerrod Combs.