This project has been ongoing over the last 4 years but most recently the realization of the ongoing impact was recognized. This journey started with an idea from a local church in Mooresville, NC. St Mark’s Lutheran church provided in kind donations to support the Living Waters Lutheran church in Cherokee, NC. This church on the Cherokee Indian reservation serves some of the most underprivileged but most creative and prideful people in NC. SYNlawn Carolina /Southeast Turf had connections through the church in Mooresville through a family member. Scott’s father was a member of St Mark’s and mentioned that his son had leftover pieces of artificial turf from completed jobs. Many times these pieces made their way to a remanent pile or the landfill. He asked if anyone thought that it would be a good idea to take some of this product to see if there was any interest or use for it.
Many of us know this generation never throws anything away!
Here is where a simple idea turned out to be a labor of love and ongoing project that has helped more people than ever could be imagined. A few pieces, on one of the donation trips 3.5 hours away a few years ago, has turned into a recent trip with a trailer full of as many pieces of leftover turf that could be piled into a 20 foot trailer. Over the past few years, Scotts dad, who is now 85 years old would sort, save, and load all of the leftover turf and look forward to his trip to Cherokee with his friends of the church every 3-4 months to deliver their goods.
During these years, the church that served the community would send their many thanks to our company. As our busy lives sometimes consume much of our time, we all went on with these busy lives and never thought too much about the donation or the project. It was just recently that the Cherokee Indians and the Living Waters Church recognized Scott’s dad and thanked him for all of his labor and for bringing the turf over the years. It was something that they looked forward to each and every time. They wrapped him in an Indian blanket, specially made for him and his service to the Indian community.
As Scott and his wife Marie listened to the stories of these trips and how they greatly appreciated these donations, they themselves on the first Sunday in December this year made a special trip to Cherokee with the 20 ft trailer full of turf remnants and scraps that the Southeast Turf crews loaded up for them. Scott’s dad could not make the trip due to declining health and they wanted to see for themselves what this impact was. That day, the church and community met them and the stories that were shared with them and the creative uses that were found using artificial turf remnants and scraps touched them profoundly.
Marie herself was born and raised on a small Indian reservation in South Dakota and truly understands, not only this way of life but also the importance of donations to the communities in which they live. The stories shared were ones of using turf for carpet, insulation, flooring, decks, holes in walls and floors, blankets, mats for sleeping on. It was for families that had homes as well as the homeless who did not. Scott and Marie had no idea of this impact.
We share this story not for the recognition of the donation, but more to challenge all distributors to think about how a small idea could impact the lives of so many in ways we may never think about. A simple idea turned into truly a labor of love and a tradition that Southeast Turf/Synlawn Carolina plans to continue. The reward that was felt that day has no monetary value, but pride, that same pride and appreciation for making a difference the Cherokee Indian people feel.
Living Waters Lutheran Church serves between 600-700 families on the Cherokee Indian reservation. It is unknown at this time how many families that have benefited from this project that has just entered its 4th year, however we have been told it’s been in the 100’s.