During the six and a half hours of the volunteer project, the crew members removed a few dead trees and pruned nineteen maples, seventeen dogwoods, six pears, six lindens, four cherries and twelve other species and shrubs along the walkway. They also fertilized approximately 90 trees and 40 shrubs, and performed soil injections around 30 boxwoods to help alleviate insect infestations.
The trees, bushes and plants that adorn the walkways of the Memorial and adjacent U.S. Dog War Memorial, Meditation Garden and Museum & Educational Center are symbolic to all who visit. The center of the Memorial pavilion contains New Jersey's state tree, the Red Oak, symbolizing the birth place of the servicemen and women. Placed under the tree's canopy are three statues -- one symbolizing all who served and came home, one symbolizing the women who served, and one honoring those who did not return. Lining the internal walkway of the Memorial are juniper, which represent the triple canopy jungle in Vietnam.
"We are extremely grateful to Aspen Tree Experts for enhancing the beauty and longevity of the trees and shrubs on our grounds," said Bill Linderman, Executive Director of the Foundation. "Thanks to Steve and his excellent staff, the symbolism of these plantings will be shared for years to come by our Vietnam Veteran Tour Guides. Their unique beauty and symbolism enhance the visitor experience and pay tribute to the memories of the more than 1,500 New Jerseyans who did not return home from the Vietnam war."
Steve Chisholm, Jr. came up with the idea to volunteer for the NJVVMF two years ago when he was walking around the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial before a concert one night at PNC Bank Arts Center. He thought it would be a great tribute to the veterans, as he noticed there was an obvious need and thought there may not be much in the way of available funding. Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy interrupted his plans in 2012 and he had to put the project on hold until 2014. When things slowed down enough, he stopped by and introduced himself to the staff, who were very grateful for the opportunity to work together.
“We at Aspen Tree Expert Co. have always done things to help contribute to the community at large around Monmouth and Ocean Counties and NJ since our beginnings in 1976,” said Steve Chisholm, Jr., General Manager, Aspen. “We have been involved for over 20 years now sending crews each year to perform a day of service at our NJ Arborists Chapter of the ISA Work Day. We visit arborists from around the state donating our time to help the association and 501c3s contributing over $100,000 of work each year.”
About New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation offers a meaningful and engaging experience that recognizes the sacrifice, courage and valor of Vietnam Veterans and encourages and fosters a thorough understanding of the Vietnam Era including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects, which affected the United States, and especially New Jersey. To support the Foundation, visit our website at www.njvvmf.org.