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Volunteers Help Horticulture Center Blossom

When there is work to be done in the community, Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Western Washington Chapter finds a way to put its skills to use. In September, the Bellevue, Wash.-based chapter teamed up with the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and local volunteers to spruce up the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture. 

ABC Western Washington has worked with NAIOP to complete community service projects for eight years. Past projects include working on a therapeutic riding stable for the disabled and a residential treatment facility for troubled children, as well as rebuilding playgrounds and bridges at a local Seattle park. This year, ABC and NAIOP saw the amount of work that needed to be completed at the University of Washington and knew they could help. 

“We look for projects where we can bring our talents and skills to the community,” says ABC Western Washington Chapter President Kathleen Garrity, who was part of the project’s or-ganizing committee. 

The day began with Garrity and her staff registering more than 200 volunteers and dispatching them to one of the 17 tasks that best fit each person’s skill set. 

“Volunteers varied from professionals in the construction industry to local moms who brought their kids to help,” Garrity says. 

Among the volunteers were employees from ABC member companies, including Amanda Grindle from Muir Contracting, Inc., Mike Grindle from Balancing Service Co. and Candi Pfluger from Clothier & Head PS. 

Tasks ranged from carpentry to removing invasive plants to placing gravel on three-quarters of a mile of nature trails. The day’s largest assignment entailed building a staircase that connects the main courtyard to the lawn below. 

At the end of the day, the local construction industry and business community stepped up and offered $90,000 to $100,000 worth of volunteer labor, equipment, time and materials. 

“It would have taken the university years to complete the work we were able to provide in just one day,” Garrity says. “We hope to show the community the commitment we have made to make it a better place.”  

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