The Fisher House in Miami
DALLAS – Times are tough and budgets are tight in the landscape industry as they are in just about every sector be it private or public. There is more need in our communities and among our charitable organizations than there’s been, probably since the Great Depression.
A small group of landscape professionals discussed this at the Next Level Network University here this morning and several things became clear:
1. Companies should contribute beyond their day-to-day revenue-producing activities to the welfare of their communities and to special causes. The community gives to you; you give back where you can, right? This is commonly called community service, but I prefer to look at it as generating good karma; it's creating bursts of positive energy the pushes us farther down the road to where we want to be as individuals, an industry or, get this, a society. (Wow, too heavy for a blog about landscaping?)
2. Companies are having to make tough choices in determining which charities and community projects to undertake or contribute to. The needs and requests are much greater than any of us can meet.
3. A lot of times we can do it in support of other business partners or vendors, in the vein of Extreme Home makeover or Habitat for Humanity.
4. Most of us probably do a lot more community service than we realize, not all of in the form of contributing to charity golf outings either. Some of us coach Little League baseball, football or soccer, touching the lives of dozens of youths. Some of us support and participate charitable and humanitarian efforts through our spiritual organizations. We could go on and on. Indeed, as the eight of us sat around the table, eating French toast and drinking coffee, more examples kept popping up.
5. Then there are some neat and established programs that we can become involved with, such asthe Professional Landcare Network's Day of Service this spring or Project Evergreen's Greencare for Troops.
6. The best and most important karma we can contribute to our neighborhoods, our charities, our neighbors, sometimes even fellow employees in need, comes from our hearts, those things that touch our souls and move us to get out of day-to-day worlds and do something cool for somebody else.
In that spirit, let me call out one great example that was shared at our round table -- and not pridefully either -- the commitment that Juan Carlos Vila and his company, Vila&Son, made in contributing to and helping raise funds to get a Fisher House established near the Veterans Hospital in Miami, FL, several years ago. Vila is the CEO of Vila&Son. His story is incredible. He and family members escaped Castro’s Cuba in the 1960s, arriving in Miami with little more than their clothes. Vila&Son is now the largest landscape company in Florida with nine locations. Few people realize his or her hard-earned good fortune more than Vila, a generous man of great personal charm and humility.
A Fisher House is “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at a major military and VA medical centers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treat facility or have transportation available. There are more than 53 Fisher Houses with perhaps a dozen more being readied for occupancy. Click here for more about Fisher Houses.
It’s always tough to write about stuff like this because most of things that we do, we don’t necessarily expect anybody to pat us on the back and say “hey, what a great thing you did.” (Although, isn’t it nice when that happens?)
Finally, thanks to Gary Fears, a young account manager at Heads Up Landscape (and proud BYU alum), for doing a great job facilitating our discussion.
Keep following this blog because there's some powerful sales and customer care stuff arising from this NLN University that we're going to share with you that I'm confident, if you take it to heart and act on it, will help you get to the next level too. – Ron Hall