COMMERCE CITY - Even though Army veteran James Vines is looking for some peace and quiet, he doesn't mind the sounds of construction outside his house in Commerce City because it means he's finally get the backyard he's always wanted.
Vines tried to fix his yard up himself when he and his wife first moved into their house two years ago. However, his work was cut short in August of last year when he was diagnosed with a tumor on his lung.
"I just couldn't lift," Vines said. "Of course, I couldn't swing a shovel. I couldn't lift more than 10 to 20 pounds for the longest time."
Doctors removed Vines' tumor, but he said it was still difficult to do yard work. So, his wife secretly entered him in a contest to win a free landscaping makeover. It was hosted by Landscaping for Vets. Vines served in the U.S. Army as a truck driver for 23 years.
In March, the organization surprised Vines by showing up at his door announcing Vines had won among more than 50 contestants.
"We did it almost like the Ed McMahon prize patrol really," Jason Sakry, the organization's founder, said. "We showed up, we had cameras rolling and we knocked on the door."
Vines said the surprise announcement left him speechless.
"We never thought we had done anything special to deserve something like this," he said. "Fortunately, other people think we have."
This is the first year for the competition. Sakry said he started it because he has a deep respect for members of the military. Both his grandfather and his uncle served.
"Sometimes I just feel like after they get back after deployment they're just forgotten about," Sakry said.
Now, Sakry and his crew are transforming Vines' backyard into a place of his dreams. They're adding a built-in barbecue pit, large paver patio, a pergola and a fire pit.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of the day on Thursday.
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