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Schill Grounds Management Blog

Serving Our Country: Landscaping Arlington Cemetery at PLANET’s Renewal & Remembrance

Serving Our Country: Landscaping Arlington Cemetery at PLANET’s Renewal & RemembranceThere’s no price we can assign to the ultimate “service.”

Service to our country—giving one’s life to protect our freedoms—is the ultimate sacrifice. The value, and valor, is so great, yet we often take our veterans’ efforts for granted as we get mired in our own everyday activities and busy lives. Last week at Schill, we paused to reflect. We poured our talents, our service, into the solemn landscape at Arlington National Cemetery during PLANET’s annual Renewal & Remembrance.

For the green industry, Renewal & Remembrance is our ultimate day of service. It’s a way for hundreds of professionals from all over the country to gather at Arlington Cemetery and pay our respects to fallen veterans. It’s a day of hard work giving back what little we have to offer in comparison to what men and women in uniform have given us. It’s humbling.

Why We Serve

Serving Our Country: Landscaping Arlington Cemetery at PLANET’s Renewal & RemembranceWe travel to Washington, D.C., to get closer to what’s important in life—and this year, we brought two Schill employees with us so they could experience the personal renewal that’s gained during this day of service, and bring back what they learned to the rest of our company.

During Renewal & Remembrance, green industry professionals work on more than 400 of cemetery’s 624 acres: We mulch, lime, aerate and cable trees to protect them from lightning.

Our Schill family joined a group of others to form the Eagle team. We applied lime to 28 acres of the cemetery property during the workday. As we rolled our spreaders through rows of headstones marking soldiers’ lives, we were acutely aware of our miniscule role in the big picture. Still, serving in the small way that we could was incredibly gratifying.

We traveled to Arlington with a strong sense of purpose—a duty. And we left humbled, grateful, quiet. We are proud to serve the country in the way we can as a landscaping firm that values service. What we do there sends a message to our employees and clients that we can make a difference by seeking out opportunities to serve.

Selecting Delegates

Serving Our Country: Landscaping Arlington Cemetery at PLANET’s Renewal & RemembranceWe wanted to share the Renewal & Remembrance experience with two employees—dedicated workers whose performance, attitude and leadership exemplified our core values. The idea was to give the opportunity to employees who would embrace the experience, and then share it with others at our company. We knew that involving employees in a service project to this scale would make an impact on their careers at Schill. The inspiration they brought home would build a sense of service among crewmembers.

We held a contest to determine which two employees would join Jerry Schill and his family on the excursion to Washington D.C. We asked candidates to write a short essay explaining why they wanted to participate in Renewal & Remembrance.

Here are some of the memorable thoughts the two employees who earned the opportunity shared with us:

I would like to show my gratitude and respect to the men and women who served this country. I take great pride in my work and would like that to be reflected not only here but in Washington D.C.

This trip will also give me the opportunity to pay my respects to the 400,000+ men and women that gave their lives for what they believed in. Sometimes I forget the price that was paid for the freedoms we have, and being at Arlington will be a constant reminder that freedom is not free.

Embracing the Experience

Serving Our Country: Landscaping Arlington Cemetery at PLANET’s Renewal & RemembranceThe Schill team spent a grueling day working at Arlington Cemetery. That same day, 30 funerals took place. Over our shoulders as we applied lime, we caught views of gravesite processions. We saw teams of black horses pulling wagons, inside them a casket decorated with the American flag. It’s gut wrenching. The words to describe the solemn environment can’t rise above the lump that forms in your throat.

We all felt an overwhelming sense of pride in our country, our veterans and the men and women who serve this country. We went to Arlington for Renewal & Remembrance with a mission to lend our talents to maintaining those hallowed grounds. We left with an enormous sense of appreciation for the gift of freedom.

Giving Back to Northeast Ohio

We honor our freedom—we appreciate the ability to serve in the way we can at home, too. That’s why Schill is dedicated to serving our community in Northeast Ohio. We donate our services to clean up local playgrounds, and donate community meals to the less fortunate during holidays. We know these efforts are small compared to the service our veterans provide for our country—but we believe that every small act of kindness and giving matters.

We’re thankful for the opportunity to attend Renewal & Remembrance, and our clients make this possible. Meanwhile, as Schill expands and opens new locations, we recognize the importance of instilling our culture of caring and service. This annual day of service is one way for us to get back to our roots and reflect on why we appreciate the work we do for clients’ landscapes every day: We want to serve others.

Let’s talk about how Schill can serve your property. Give us a call any time at  (440) 327-3030 — or fill out our simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you!

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Topics: Schill Company Culture

Jerry Schill

Written by Jerry Schill

Jerry Schill is president and co-owner of Schill Grounds Management. He's received numerous accolades for his leadership in the Northeast Ohio business community and the commercial landscaping and snow management industry, including the National Leadership Award from SNOW Magazine and Lawn and Landscape Magazine. He is an active member of the Legislative Committee for the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA) and the Snow and Ice Committee for the Ohio Landscapers Association (OLA).

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