“Every year, NALP members look forward to getting together with colleagues and competitors for this massive day of service,” said Mike Bogan, president of NALP and CEO of LandCare. “Preserving these spaces ensures resources are available and accessible for all.”
On July 17, more than 500 green industry volunteers from 125 companies gave their time, equipment and staff to help upkeep the National Mall, The Tidal Basin and Arlington National Cemetery.
Including sporting activities, the National Mall hosts an average of 9,000 events per year, according to and National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Jeffrey Reinbold.
This year marked the 27th time the association has held R&R, which began around 7 a.m. with opening ceremonies and remarks from Bogan and Reinbold.
“Last year at the Lincoln Memorial, people were floored by the people who showed up and kept asking ‘who is that crowd?’” said Reinbold. “We’re excited to see the work you do here today at the National Mall."
Following the ceremonies, volunteers dispersed to tackle projects that included laying grass seed and mulching, completing much of the work in just a few hours.
“It’s great seeing everyone pitch in, and it makes a lot of work go really quickly,” said Alan Macbeth, senior landscape designer at Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape. “It’s great industrywide that we could pull together to help beautify the space. Our company is in the area, and so it’s great to do something for a place that we enjoy but also for people coming from across the country and around the world to see the space.”
The volunteer ranks also included many veterans.
“I am a veteran of the United States Airforce so to come here to our nation’s capital and participate in beautifying it is such an honor,” said Derek Murray, manager of peer services, Aspire.
New Holland, in particular, brought many veterans as part of its volunteer force.
“We got together as a group about a year ago and started talking to each other as veterans,” said Karen Mayes, quality admin in the claims processing center in Lebanon, Ind., for New Holland. “It was awesome to be able to put together 20-plus people to be able to do something for the country.”