A disabled Vietnam veteran will be able to step out of his home without the fear of falling, thanks to two young landscapers, according to a story in The Enterprise (Brockton, Massachusetts). It’s yet another example of the generosity of the people in the green industry and their willingness to step up and help people in need.
Twenty-year-old Andrew Merriam and his friend and business partner 21-year-old Derek Shaughnessy laid down a new stone walkway in front of the home of 72-year-old Brockton resident John Kennedy. His old entry path had deteriorated and became dangerous, and the two men replaced it for free.
Kennedy, a former Marine, was injured during the Tet Offensive. He was shot in the head, but Kennedy said his helmet protected him from major injury. He was treated and continued serving for a total of 13 months in Vietnam. When he later stepped on a booby trap, his injuries resulted in a medical discharge after 3 1/2 years of service. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat, though,” Kennedy says in the story.
Merriam, who serves in the Army National Guard, and Shaughnessy recently started a business together called Twins Landscaping, but the work they did for Kennedy won’t be invoiced. The supplies for the job were bought by the Merriam family who was concerned about their neighbor repeatedly slipping and falling on the broken walkway leading up to his front door.
“It was all deteriorated,” Merriam told the reporter. “My mom said she’s caught him falling a couple times on it. Seeing him fall really upset my mom. Knowing that we do walkways, she asked us to do this.”
Building the new walkway wasn’t all the two young landscapers did for Kennedy. They also surprised him with the gift of a special brick imprinted with the Marine Corp logo on it.
“I can’t say enough about them,” a grateful Kennedy told the reporter, looking out his front door, a red Marine Corps flag hanging in the window. “That’s what neighbors do.”
Andrew Merriam’s father Michael Merriam chipped in to purchase the supplies needed to make the walkway installation possible. “I always told my son, always be a giver, not a taker,” Merriam was quoted as saying.
Andrew Merriam's mother Bella Merriam praised her son and his friend for doing a good deed. “They are wonderful kids,” she told the reporter. “He’s our neighbor and we watch out for our neighbors. It was a treacherous walkway for him, where he’s disabled. I’ve seen him fall a few times over the years. The new walkway makes it so it won’t be slippery. I’m just very proud of them.”