Local business steps up

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On Nov. 13, Salem Specialized Saw & Mower Inc. donated new equipment to the Goodwill Goodguides Community Garden. From left: Rich Stover, general manager; Scott Laughon, store sales and marketing manager; Nicole Ross, garden director; and John King, store owner.  Submitted photo.
On Nov. 13, Salem Specialized Saw & Mower Inc. donated new equipment to the Goodwill Goodguides Community Garden. From left: Rich Stover, general manager; Scott Laughon, store sales and marketing manager; Nicole Ross, garden director; and John King, store owner. Submitted photo.
When thieves got away with a community garden’s generator, riding lawnmower and water pump, a Salem business stepped up to the plate.

Earlier in the month, the tools were stolen from the Goodwill Goodguides Community Garden, a project funded by the Department of Justice, and works to help teach at-risk youth life skills. The garden is located at the junction of West Boulevard and Shenandoah Avenue in Roanoke.

“We’d been at that sight since 2012,” said Nicole Ross, program director. “It caught us off guard. When someone steals from the garden, they’re actually taking from the youth that work at that garden.”

When John King, owner of Specialized Saw & Mower Inc., heard about the incident, he knew he had to take action. The store donated a generator and water pump, both of which are of a higher quality than the stolen items.

King is also a member of the Glenvar Rotary Club, and his desire to give back to the community is something he hopes to share.

“I told the guys we were going to step up as a company,” King said. “Whatever they needed worst, I told them I would be willing to donate. I’m hoping we can spread the goodwill.”

The garden, which began in 2012, has been a learning process. Ross said it has exceeded her expectations, as they started off with only five garden boxes, and are now up to 15. Ross said not only does the project teach life skills, but it makes it possible to eat healthier.

What project members don’t give away to the Rescue Mission, they are able to bring home with them.

“To have those guys step up to the plate and offer what was well above what we expected,” said Ross. “My best scenario was to just give us back what was lost.”

A riding lawnmower hasn’t been donated as of yet. However, King said if the garden doesn’t receive one by spring, he will happily donate one himself.

“It was just the right thing to do for our community,” King said. “You take a bad situation, and there can be positive in it in some way.

“We are elated about it,” Ross added. “It was a great end to a bad story, and an amazing act of kindness.”

Salem Specialized Saw & Mower Inc. will be celebrating their 25th year of business in January.