The green industry always responds generously in the face of fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. The latest example is the folks from United Tree & Landscaping in Bella Vista, Arkansas, as reported by KARK-TV, Little Rock.
Soon, they’ll be rushing out to North Carolina, armed with chain saws and other tools to help clean up some of the devastation from Hurricane Florence. Most importantly, they’ll be equipped with a willingness to help others in distress.
The people of United Tree & Landscaping are no strangers to this type of thing. "Harvey, Matthew, Isaac, Katrina, we've been to all of them — Sandy," says co-owner Justin Mills. In fact, the company’s crews have helped out in 17 different disaster scenarios around the country.
Now, 10 people from United Tree & Landscaping are preparing to go to North Carolina to clean up some of the worst areas affected by the latest one. They expect to be there for eight weeks or longer.
And, they’re ready to put in some major overtime. "Whenever we get there, the first week, we work 100 to 120 hours," Mills says. They’ll start where the eye of the storm hit North Carolina’s coast, and move out from there.
"We start off usually, removing trees off houses, driveways, clearing driveways. Making it so the insurance companies can come in and start rebuilding people’s houses," says Mills.
All of them will be giving up time with loved ones to help neighbors who live hundreds of miles away. For some of them, it’ll be a major sacrifice. "We both are leaving pregnant wives to go on this trip,” says the other co-owner, Casey Williams. “and plus, his (Mills’) daughter — she has cancer.”
Still, their altruistic spirit overrides any personal concerns. "Having a tree on your house is extremely stressful,” Williams says. “When someone shows up willing to help, and just provides that security of, ‘Hey it’s going to be okay at the end of the day,' that can be the difference in having a really bad week.”
In preparation for the trip, employee Jeff Attlesey has been busy collecting donations. He’s preparing to send two pallets of water along with the crew. The provisions will be shoved into the truck anywhere there’s room.
"They will shove stuff under the beds, wherever they have to put it,” says Attlesey. “We'll make it happen, whether it's flashlights, batteries, whatever we can get, we'll get it on that truck going to the Carolinas. Otherwise, it will be probably next week, and I'm going to try to get another crew or someone else to head that way. No matter what, we'll get it to them."
Williams hopes that this crew, and perhaps others from Arkansas, can make a difference in the face of such overwhelming devastation.
"We got some good mechanics, we got some real good guys,” he says. “Everybody is willing to do what it takes to get out there, and get it done and get home."