For four young men in Chatham, this was not the summer they had planned.
Returning home early from their colleges and universities due to COVID-19, and with summer internships and jobs on hold or uncertain, Owen Calvert, Justin Hayes, Gianmarco Mignogni and Brenden Steigerwald hatched a plan. Together, they decided to form a landscaping business with 10% of all proceeds benefiting the Chatham Emergency Squad.
“We grew up in Chatham, have been friends since 8th Grade, and knew we had to do something to help the members of the Emergency Squad who were taking so much risk for themselves while helping others,” said Owen Calvert, a senior at the College of Charleston. “So, we pooled together our equipment resources and got to work.”
By early May, the business was up and running - cutting grass, mulching yards, weeding, planting and other odds-and-ends chores needing completion. Thanks to an initial post by Janet Calvert (Owen’s mother) on the Chatham Community Forum promoting their services, they were quickly in business. Hard work and positive word of mouth sustained them from May through the end of July, keeping them busy and motivated for the greater task at hand.
By the end of July, the four young men made enough money to donate $1,500 - much more than they ever anticipated - which represents 10% of all profits. And they proudly presented a check to Evan Skinner, President of the Chatham Emergency Squad.
“We had hoped to make a couple hundred dollars for the Squad, but the response was overwhelming right from the start, and that motivated us to do even more,” said Justin Hayes, a recent graduate of the University of Richmond.
Brenden Steigerwald, a senior at St. Joseph’s University and Gianmarco Mignogni, a senior at Miami of Ohio University agreed. “We’re really proud of what we accomplished in a few short months and are so happy to present this money to the Squad, which takes such great care of this amazing community,” they added.
“We felt it was a great initiative when we first learned about what these boys were doing back in May, but it fell off our radar screen with everything else happening,” said Evan Skinner, President of the Chatham Emergency Squad. “So, we were pleasantly surprised at the determination and perseverance of these four young men and are truly grateful and impressed by how they followed through on their commitment. This money will go a long way in providing personal protective gear (PPE) for members of the Squad as we continue to face the challenges of effective patient care in the midst of COVID-19.”
About The Chatham Emergency Squad
The Chatham Emergency Squad is an all-volunteer organization funded nearly exclusively by donations. In 2019 the Chatham Emergency Squad responded to 1246 emergency calls in Chatham Township and Chatham Borough and provided mutual aid to neighboring communities of New Vernon, Madison and Summit on occasion. Chatham Emergency Squad never charges for its services. The Squad provides stand-by support for community events, such as the Chatham Turkey Trot, Fishawack, and school athletic events. The Squad also provided free CPR training to more than 400 residents, teachers, coaches, school crossing guards and emergency personnel, including fire and police. To learn more, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.chathamemergencysquad.org.