Phil Fogarty is a landscaper in Cleveland. For one day every July, he also helps tend one of the most important expanses of green in America: the one in Arlington National Cemetery, where 25 to 30 veterans are laid to rest every day.
As part of a volunteer effort called Renewal & Remembrance, Fogarty and 400 other volunteers travel to Virginia at their own expense and donate $250,000 worth of labor, equipment, and materials to lime lawns, yank weeds, feed flowers, and plant trees. Their work helps support the year-round efforts of Arlington’s staff to maintain the cemetery’s 624 acres. Says Fogarty, “It’s our gift to America.”
He also helped launch GreenCare for Troops, a nationwide program that supplies free lawn care to military families while a loved one is deployed overseas. Since 2006, the program has provided more than 9,000 households with more than 2,500 green-thumbed volunteers. “Tending a lawn is nothing compared with what these families go through,” says Fogarty. “But it’s a way to let them know we care.”