Seven-fifteen on this last Saturday morning, that’s right, 7:15 AM, and the volunteers from idX, with Heather Bullock, HR lead being one of the first arriving, were already showing up at Rose Haven for their Garden workday. The early morning was a delight, cool temps, and the quiet that comes with the weekend. Coffee, water, Gatorade, and pastries greeted them. Work began promptly at 7:30. Trust me, you don’t want to spin more wheels than necessary on a July day, even one that started cool as this one. The day heats up as the sun rises – blue skies offered little chance for respite.
Intro and Off To Work!
I introduced the Pamlico Rose folks, David, Greg, Emily, and Bella the wonder puppy, and followed with a hearty thanks for giving us their Saturday morning. Why such a center was needed came next. The intended population of the Pamlico Rose Center of Healing of female Veterans who are struggling with reintegration, some in recovery, and many with the residual effects of PTSD from military sexual trauma need a place to heal. Finally, after a safety brief from David (don’t put the rake down with prongs up, someone awareness challenged like me could come along, take a wrong step and see stars for a while), and the quick group photo, off we went peeling the 12 volunteers into groups of twos to tackle their main objectives for the day – weeding, laying cardboard and mulch. Two volunteers got to prime clapboards.
Shovels and rakes awaited the weeding groups, compliments of idX. The tools would stay at Rose Haven when the morning work was completed; a donation more than gratefully accepted. So was the check for $2,000 that Heather gave me later in the morning. Shown is Heather Bullock and I in a photo, holding an envelope with check enclosed, sweaty (at least I was), dirt and more dirt decorating stained clothes (at least mine were). No business clothes here, unless of course you work as a landscaper.
Just minutes into their weeding, the next volunteer group was arriving. Eight Boy Scouts from Troop 21, along with one or both of their parents, were coming to support Lucas Wood in the last stage of his Eagle Scout project, building six raised produce beds. These weren’tjust any raised beds. They were three different robust models, 3×8 feet x 32 inches high and sturdily built by Lucas over two months. Like most of the gardens, and walkways, the beds were built to be accessible by those with disabilities. It would take a Scout troop to transport them from our building area in the back to the produce garden area, we call The Seed, up front. At 8:30, I was thanking the scouts for supporting Lucas and Pamlico Rose, and providing a much abridged, and less detailed view of what was said 60 minutes prior. The adolescent scouts might not have grasped reasons for female Vets coming to our Center of Healing.
Except for the idX folks weeding the Randolph Memorial Garden out front for 2-3 hours that Saturday morning, two disparate groups, generations apart and almost rubbing shoulders, shared the Betty Ann Sands Memorial Healing and Artful Gardens space. All were tied together by the common goal of helping those less fortunate. As weeds were flying hither and yon, and small rollers dripping with grey primer were coating clapboards, multiple paint brushes held by Scouts sopping with stain were attacking thirsty wood. Lucas was there to direct the operation, showing leadership qualities that Eagle Scout projects also expect.
Beds on the Move
As noon approached, after giving us their morning, the idX crew began to leave. A handful of hearty ones, joined by two visitors, stayed longer to complete the work on the Randolph Memorial Garden in front and finish using up what primer was provided. But the Scouts were ready to kick it up a notch. No surprise there. One by one, a raised bed hoisted by Scouts, like a centipede with 16 legs moving mostly in unison, would find its way to The Seed area and placed in its appropriate slot along the walkway. Then, eight Scouts with shovels formed a human shovel train from the piles of gin trash to the bed just settled in. As noon approached, the last weed was pulled, the last shovel of mulch and gin trash found its place, and the last bed was made.
We would like to thank:
- Our new-found friends at idX for their generosity of time, materials and their financial gift. They came along and gave us a shot in the arm when we needed it. We are better because of them.
- Lucas Wood, for his 2 months of hard work at not just building raised beds to last seasons, but his willingness to pick up and drop off mulch as well, we doff our sweat-stained caps (at least mine is) to him. In Lucas, we had the pleasure to work with one who will be a future leader.
- The energetic legs and arms of Troop 21 and their parents, and a grandparent, the beds are stained, loaded to grow, and in their rightful place.
The gardens are blooming.