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Volunteers clear branches at Wood National Cemetery to honor veterans

Posted at 6:54 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 19:54:12-04

In an effort to support fallen veterans, the nonprofit Saluting Branches asked volunteers to help with the beautification process for 54 of the 119 veterans cemeteries across the United States.

Here in Milwaukee, more than 50 volunteers are working at the Wood National Cemetery.

More than 30 different professional arborists companies are working on 70 trees throughout the grounds. No matter if the trees are 12 feet or 60 feet, arborist like Jason Dudek, owner of Dudek's Tress, says he wants to do something nice for those who've given so much. 

Dudek's father was in the Vietnam War, his grandfather served in WWII. He says giving up a day's pay to volunteer is more than worth his time.  

"I just want people to remember that there's always something that they can do in their community to do to help out," said Dudek. 

Dudek works with Bob Stalberg, a retired pipe fitter, on the trees. Both men agree that you don't need to be an arborist to give a small amount of your time to make the area great for everyone who visits. Together the two tackle many trees of various heights, trimming, chopping, and pruning. 

Rainbow Treecare created the nonprofit, and Territory Manager, Lee Fredericks says his company wanted to help veteran affairs care for the grounds. Fredericks says the men who came out today are a cut above the rest.   

"They came with millions of dollars worth of equipment and endless amounts of sweat, blood and tears, to put those efforts together. Giving back to the veterans that gave so much for us," said Fredericks. 

It wasn't just professionals giving their time, student arborists from Kenosha Gateway Technical College came out for hands-on experience.

Student Tyler Tschumper says giving back is important, and since he's going to graduate this spring, he wants to make sure he's connected with the community he's about to work for. 

"It just feels really great giving back to the community. It just feels really great being out here doing what we do, and for a cause this time," said Tschumper. 

Arboriculture Program Director Aaron Schauer says he didn't know about the nonprofits or its efforts until recently. 

"Now that i know of it. We'll come back every year. I mean, one of my greatest goals for the students is to be able to give back to the community," said Schauer. 

This is Saluting Branches fourth year of service. Click here for more information.