Small team keeps post looking food
August 16, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Lawn mowers and weed trimmers are their tools of choice and despite the record-setting summer heat, they keep the post looking good.
The people who maintain Fort Jackson grounds are a team of 30 contractors from Highlander Landscaping Services, a local company that is responsible for maintaining more than 500 acres of land.
"They are doing an outstanding job for us, without this team the post would not be looking as good as it is today," said William Dyer, contracting officer representative for the Directorate of Public Works. "This is an old post, but let's make it look like new, and for us to do that we have to take pride and ownership in what we have here," Dyer said.
Dyer said recent government budget constraints have placed a strain on the efforts to cover more areas with the resources available, but the crews are doing more with less.
"The money was there one time before, but now we have less money, now we are using a smaller owned business to get the job done, and (the owner) is doing more with less because that's who we are now," Dyer said.
He said the grounds maintenance contracts are usually seasonal, and the contractors are responsible for more than 500 acres that must be maintained regularly. IMCOM requires that the grass in high visibility areas such as Post Headquarters, Hilton Field and others is to be no more than two inches, cut even across the top and must be cut at least once a week.
"It's difficult a lot of times, but we pretty much have a schedule when we cut certain areas. I try to schedule it to where we get the areas cut in a timely manner and have everybody working together to get it completed. The toughest part is the heat for us, working in the heat," said Lee Burton, contractor and project manager for Highlander Landscaping Services.
"I appreciate everything my team does as a whole, mainly because without them I am not getting anything done. When we first started, I was also cutting grass and now I am doing mostly the paperwork because without my helpful crew I couldn't get anything done. Their help makes the world of difference," Burton said.
Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest Lee also praised the effort to maintain the post landscaping.
"I am very pleased with the progress that (grounds maintenance crews) have made to make Fort Jackson a very neat installation," Lee said.
Dyer said he enjoys his job and the post has the potential to be very well kept.
"I love what I am doing, hopefully in the future I would like to see a well-manicured fort with the trees trimmed, sidewalks edged, throughout the whole post and no place left uncut," he said.