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Tradition of Service: Local business owner among volunteers in Arlington National Cemetery

Star Staff Reports

A sea of children in bright yellow vests await their next activity at Arlington.  Waving in the back is Champion Lisa Kuperus, Farmside Landscape & Design in Wantage, NJ, whose entire family is involved in the R&R project.  Her daughter (blue cap) Racheal assisted with the children. On the far right in the back is Kelly Hasket (orange vest), who volunteered as the bus monitor.

A sea of children in bright yellow vests await their next activity at Arlington. Waving in the back is Champion Lisa Kuperus, Farmside Landscape & Design in Wantage, NJ, whose entire family is involved in the R&R project. Her daughter (blue cap) Racheal assisted with the children. On the far right in the back is Kelly Hasket (orange vest), who volunteered as the bus monitor.

Wreath laying with officers in protocol at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Wreath laying with officers in protocol at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

100_2730_edited“This is the largest, most important event of our industry,” said John Eggleston, chair of the Arlington National Cemetery Renewal and Remembrance (R&R) event, during opening ceremonies on July 17.
Herbi-Systems’ owner Kenny Crenshaw echoed those sentiments. “All the big names in our industry are here: John Deere, Caterpillar, New Holland Construction and Kubota,” said Crenshaw, a champion and in his 14th year of participation at Arlington.  “All these names represent the top one percent of our industry and they are all competitors.  But once a year, they come together as one to support the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP)Renewal and Remembrance project.”
The project recently brought together about 500 volunteers nationwide who donate their services to preserve the grounds of the historic cemetery.  Crenshaw supervises some 300 of those volunteers in planning stages and assigning work in various sections of the cemetery.  His understudy, Don Zerby, owner of Ecolawn, Inc. of Ohio, collaborates with him in supervisory duties.  Arlington cemetery sits on more than 600 acres and volunteers treat 200-plus acres of the property.  This year marks the 21st anniversary of R&R.
Arlington cemetery maintains the property overall, Crenshaw said.  For example, gravestones are pressure washed to protect from the elements, he added.  He said each year, volunteers strive to fulfill the cemetery’s “wish list” for grounds needs that tight government budgets won’t allow.
Among those buried at Arlington are our 27th President, William H. Taft and our 35th President, John F. Kennedy, as well as WWII hero and film star, Audie Murphy.
During the Children’s Program on the Big Day at Arlington, local historian Chris Warren explained that the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb represents MIAs from WWI, WWII and the Korean War. Uniformed soldiers perform 21-gun salutes during heads-of-state visits and military funerals.  Warren also noted that many WWII veterans are buried in Europe and that a government entity maintains those cemeteries.
Also as part of the Children’s Program, little ones planted flowers at the base of the Nurse’s Memorial and also at individual graves.  The Nurses Section represents departed souls from the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII. This year, adults and children planted flowers at the graves of WWI nurses.

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