Austin’s Tree House Male-A-Wish® Project

Austin Harrison is a brave 5-year old boy from Fallston, MD who was diagnosed with stage-4 neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer, in 2014. When the Make-A-Wish® foundation reached out to Austin, his wish was for a great big tree house where he could play with his friends, his older sister, Alexa, and their dog, Paisley.

The Make-A-Wish® foundation commissioned general contractor Clark Construction to build the tree house for Austin, who happily took on the project. Ruppert Landscape has worked closely with Clark Construction on several projects in the past, so when construction executive Larry Mundy reached out to Mike Felts, branch manager in our Maryland Landscape Construction (MDL) branch about the project, Mike and his team jumped at the opportunity to get involved. Clark Construction then partnered with architect Byer Blinder Bell to design a tree house that accommodated all of Austin’s wishes, including a rock climbing wall, fireman’s pole, wobbly bridge, slide, snack pulley and stargazing platform.

MDL donated and installed rubber mulch (provided at cost by our valued supplier, Stone Store) as well as soil, sod, edging and filter fabric for the tree house playground. The MDL team members who volunteered their time to install this scope included (pictured left to right) Michael Poole, Calvin Dworshak, Danny Annett, Andreas Rivas and Santos Rodriguez, as well as Paris Molina and Adam Bennett (not pictured). Project manager Marvin Clermont worked closely with Larry of Clark Construction to bring this project to fruition.

Make-A-Wish® hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at Austin’s tree house on Tuesday, July 12th and MDL’s Danny Annett and Marvin Clermont were there to witness the unveiling. Marvin said, “The tree house turned out great and we were thrilled to be there to see Austin and his family enjoy it. The Harrisons expressed their most sincere gratitude for all that was contributed.”

The best part of this story? After two years of treatment, Austin’s last scan showed him to be cancer-free! He will get to enjoy his new tree house with Alexa, Paisley and friends for many years to come.

“Having the opportunity to participate in this project was amongst the most humbling and rewarding experiences that we’ve had as a branch,” said Mike Felts, MDL branch manager. “We are extremely thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Make-A-Wish® team.”

The Make-A-Wish® Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to “grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” To learn more about Make-A-Wish®, visit www.wish.org.