JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of a local tree removal service has launched a new program in hopes of not only honoring veterans but also helping them protect their homes from falling trees.
The program, known as Tree Work For Heroes, is the brainchild of Canary Tree Service founder Justin Hartmann, who said it’s been in the works for some time but is only now becoming a reality.
On Monday, Hartmann’s employees visited the home of Bill West, a 94-year-old Army veteran who served during World War II. West played guitar for the volunteers while they worked.
“I feel it’s a real blessing,” West said. “I couldn’t believe people would care this much about you.”
For Hartmann, it’s a small way of paying back the men and women who have put their lives on the line over the years and sacrificed so much in service to this country.
“We’re grateful that the community here has trusted us enough and allowed us to be successful enough in our ventures that we can give back to veterans that have given so much to us,” Hartmann said. “So this is everything to us.”
The goal of the program is to help veterans who are getting by on fixed incomes remove trees that are threatening to fall on their homes. The service is free to veterans who are unable to pay for the service, which can cost hundreds of dollars for paying customers.
“If you know somebody or if you’re a veteran who has served this country and you’re in a financial situation where you can’t afford to take down a dangerous tree to protect your family and your home, we want to do it for you,” Hartmann said. “We want to get out and serve you for serving us.”
Hartmann is also challenging other small business owners to honor veterans by offering similar services free of charge. Eventually, he wants to gain enough momentum to add more volunteers to the program.
“The most valuable thing I can give to a veteran is my time and resources with this business,” he said.
For West’s family, that’s more than enough.
“I appreciate it and my wife appreciates it,” the 94-year-old said.
To contact Canary Tree Service, visit canarytreeservice.com or call 904-753-8785.
According to the Wilmington Star News, Canary Tree Service was accused of price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Hartmann denied any wrongdoing.