Among thousands of headstones marking the final resting place for military veterans, crews from Cuivre River Electric Cooperative spent a sultry September day helping improve the appearance at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
CREC crews joined other tree professionals from across the country to participate in the fourth annual Saluting Branches: Arborists United for Veteran Remembrance, an opportunity to help maintain and beautify national and state cemeteries.
Saluting Branches is a nonprofit organization that holds a national day of service charity for tree care professionals to give back to the military veterans and their families.
This was the first year CREC participated in the event. The cooperative sent members of its right-of-way department and contracted workers from Asplundh.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to give back to the service men and women who have given their life for our freedom,” said Scott Skopec, CREC right-of-way superintendent. “Being an electric cooperative, giving back to the community is a big part of what we do.”
The volunteer crews donated a full day’s work. For several hours, CREC crews trimmed trees and removed dead limbs.
For the crews, it was more than just another day at work.
“Donating time to help with the upkeep of the cemetery is an excellent way for our co-op and crews to show our respect to our veterans,” Skopec said. “We look forward to participating again in the future.”
Similar events were held across the country at other state and national cemeteries. More than 2,700 industry professionals were expected to participate. Last year, volunteers donated an estimated $4 million in services.
Saluting Branches is the largest single-day volunteer event in the history of the tree care industry and is one of the largest volunteer donations the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has ever received.
“We developed Saluting Branches as a green industry project to honor veterans and improve the environment through the science of tree care,” said Deb Peterson, Saluting Branches coordinator. “This is an important event for the arborist community and allows us to give back to those who have served us.”
To learn more, visit www.salutingbranches.org.
Cuivre River Electric Cooperative is the largest member-owned electric distribution cooperative in Missouri. It provides service to more than 65,000 residential, business, commercial, industrial and agricultural members in Lincoln, Pike, St. Charles and Warren counties