Paving a Way to Say Thanks

paversPALMYRA, NJ - When a musical ice cream truck drove down Cinnaminson Avenue on Wednesday, no one appreciated seeing and hearing it more than Javier Mendoza of Creative Pavers and his co-workers.

Refreshing Popsicles helped the men as they installed a landscaping project for a young family in the soaring heat.

While the extreme weather may have caused other landscapers to call it a day, the Creative team from West Deptford, Gloucester County, made this project a priority and worked through the afternoon.

The men were contracted by EP Henry for a HeroScaping™ project to help a veteran and his family. It's called Spring Spruce-Up.

EP Henry, based in Woodbury, Gloucester County, is the nation's oldest family owned and operated manufacturer of hardscaping, according to the company. It started the HeroScaping program to honor those who have served in the armed forces. One facet is the Spruce-Up program, which has assisted six families in New Jersey and Pennsylvania this spring.

Alfred Torrissi, a Marine military-intelligence veteran who earned 16 medals while serving two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, heard about the program through his brother, Robert, an EP Henry employee who nominated him for the free landscaping project.

"I was very excited about it," Alfred Torrissi said. "It's one of those projects ... on the to-do list for three years now."

Like other young couples, Torrissi and his wife, Jessica, are busy juggling jobs as they care for their two children, Anthony, 6, and Ava, 2. The lawn wasn't a top priority.

Then EP Henry offered the free service, designing a flower bed using hardscape edging and installing stepping-stones to connect the driveway with the front walkway. The company also put up fencing to enclose the family's trash receptacles in the side yard.

Meaghan Reess, Marketing Manager for EP Henry, said the HeroScaping project involves customers as well as the company. The pavers come with a lifetime warranty, she said. When customers mail in their warranty card, they can select from three charities to which the firm will make donations: the Fisher House Foundation, which offers housing on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers to assist families visiting wounded servicemen and women; the Infinite Hero Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the needs of military heroes and their families; or the National Military Family Association, which offers programs to heal and strengthen families struggling with wartime separations, wounds and losses.

"We have a patriotic company culture - three former owners having served in the armed forces," said J.C. Henry, the company's fourth-generation president and CEO. "Our goal in launching HeroScaping is to allow our customers to share in our company's long tradition of giving back to those who serve."

The company also received the President's Volunteer Service Award for a project in which it donated 100 percent of the supplies for a 9/11 memorial in Brooklawn, Camden County.

It recently donated 2,500 square feet of pavers and veneer stone for the construction of a memorial at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst honoring nine NATO air advisers killed in 2011 while mentoring members of the Afghan air force. The memorial is expected to be dedicated in July.

EP Henry also has donated supplies to a Philadelphia 9/11 memorial under construction.

"I think it's great," Alfred Torrissi said of EP Henry's Spruce-Up program. He had just come home from his job as a behavioral detection officer in the Transportation Security Administration at Philadelphia International Airport.

"There are a lot of veterans coming home. … These extra things show that people care about us," he said.

Source: Peg Quann, Staff writer