DENVER - Fort Logan National Cemetery is a place for quiet reflection. The rows of headstones make one stop and think.
“It really gives you an idea that a lot of people have done a lot of things for this country,” said Patrick O’Meara, who was visiting the cemetery for a special reason Wednesday.
O’Meara and about 80 other volunteers descended upon Fort Logan to make a little noise with chainsaws, wood chippers, and other tree-care equipment. They were all taking part in Saluting Branches—an event where arborists and other tree-care professionals use their skills to improve veteran cemeteries across the country.
“We’re going to try to make these trees a little nicer looking,” O’Meara, of High Country Landscaping, said.
“We’re doing some things for safety. We’ve got some dead branches up there. We’d like to make sure those aren’t falling on anyone.”
This is the second year for the Saluting Branches event. This year, 1,200 people are pitching in at 36 cemeteries in 27 states.
“It’s really overwhelming—it’s absolutely humbling to be here,” said Korey Lofy with Rainbow Scientific. “It’s such a big honor to be blessed with the opportunity to help provide this service.”
Lofy volunteered at last year’s event in Minnesota. He said it is just a small thing the tree-care community can do to help veterans.
“They gave so much--more than what a lot of us ever could,” Lofy said. “We hope that this is at least a step in the direction saying you’re not forgotten—and that we are taking care of you.”
Many participants had family members who served in the military. Kevin Oxley, of OxTree, has both his father and grandfather buried at Fort Logan.
“It’ll just be good to give back to the people who fight for our freedom every day,” Oxley said. “It’s great to be out here with other arborists who are on the same page—not trying to make money, but trying to do something for the greater good.”
Saluting Branches estimated that the financial impact of last year’s event was more than $1 million. If you would like to learn more about the event, go to Saluting Branches’ website: http://www.salutingbranches.org/
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