BrightView Builds a Memorial Park at Forest Lake Estates

 

Forest Lake Estates in Zephyrhills, Fla., a 55-and-over community, now has a memorial park dedicated to military veterans and first responders. The park features a flag representing each branch of the military, a veterans memorial wall, a commemorative plaque, a first responders fire pit, paver walks, and new landscaping. The memorial park was officially opened during a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony over Veteran's Day weekend, which saw more than 600 community members, including 75 veterans and first responders, in attendance.

(For the full transcript, see below.)

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Video Transcription

BrightView Builds a Memorial Park at Forest Lake Estates

JAMES DILL, Forest Lake Estates, Home Owners Association President:

Well, about a year ago, Equity LifeStyle Properties took over the ownership of the park and they decided that they were going to move their office, which is located here inside the park, to the outside. When they decided to do that, we had our service flags located right there and we needed a new place to locate our service flags. A couple of us from the board got together, looked around, and this was the only open area that we really had in a park that wasn't being used. We said, "Wow, what a great place if we just maybe expand on the gazebo and expand on the sidewalk and find a place for our flags.

STEVEN BAGIARDI, Forest Lake Estates, General Manager:

We started drawing around some ideas on the back of pieces of paper and then we came up with some design plans, but it really wasn't getting there, so we asked for some assistance.

KEITH WILSON, BrightView, Vice President and Regional Sales Leader:

Well, originally the group got together and talked about how we're going to move the flags at the front and find a place to put them. It just kind of snowballed into an opportunity for us at BrightView to really show off our skills and to show off what we can do as a group.

MICHAEL BLACK, Forest Lake Estates, Resident:

And then they came up with a design. It caused chills when you saw that picture and the fact that we were actually going to have something like that here.

JAMIE BOYNTON, BrightView, Vice President/General Manager of Florida - West:

This project was brought to me about three months ago when Keith Wilson and Tyler Drew met with the community and said this was a great opportunity for us to embrace our community tradition and give back to the community through being able to bring our team in here and revitalize this park.

TOM CIVIC, BrightView, Enhancement Crew Production Specialist:

This was something that Brian had me do for our company to come in and take care of this for them as a donation. It means a lot. I have relatives that were in the service, so that meant quite a bit to me.

DILL:

And now, what do we have? We have a beautiful park where we have a reflection area, we have our veterans wall behind us with the battle cross where we're honoring our veterans, our first responder area, and, at the last minute, we even threw in a fire pit where we can sit, relax, and enjoy each other's company. This park touches more than the veterans - it touches the veterans, the first responders, and all of our residents here.

GAIL SANDERSON, Forest Lake Estates, Resident:

My husband James Sanderson and I moved here in September 2014 and he recently, at the beginning of October, passed away, but when he did pass away, I got his flag. When they were doing the park, I thought it would be a nice gesture for him, as a remembrance for me and my friends here in the park, to hang his flag here.

BLACK:

I can't wait to take this and use this to show to everybody when they come in. This will be the focal point of this park now with this memorial.

BERNADETTE GREEN, Forest Lake Estates, Resident and World War II Veteran:

It's so beautiful and everything was so well done. It's so nice to see all these service people here. It's just hard to tell you. It makes me want to enlist again.

BAGIARDI:

The partnership with BrightView was absolutely phenomenal and we couldn't have picked anybody better to work with.

DILL:

The relationship has been beyond amazing.

BOYNTON:

Being able to represent BrightView in a community, not in the middle of a metropolitan area, and bring and develop a project like this for the people; we know it's going to get used here and we know it's going to be respected and it's going to be cared for. You walk out of here knowing you've done a great deed for the people that live here and the people who are going to enjoy this park for many years to come.