On Thursday, November 10th, over 40 employees from Ruppert Landscape’s Virginia landscape construction branch came together to install the finishing touches on the latest HeroHomes project in Round Hill, Virginia. This is the fifth house that HeroHomes has built for a wounded veteran and their family, and the second project that Ruppert Landscape has had a hand in.
The recipient of this home is United States Marine Corps veteran Sgt. Jimmy Ochan, along with his wife of 11 years, Pat, and their 10-year-old son, William. Jimmy served in the Marine Corps for over 11 years, having been deployed twice to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and once to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2015, he was hit by an improvised explosive device, requiring several surgeries to his neck, spine, and knees. He continues to recover both physically and mentally and is receiving treatment through the Veterans Administration and equine therapy. (To learn more about his inspiring journey and recovery, read the LoudonNow news article.)
Pictured above, from left to right: Craig Ruppert, CEO, Ruppert Landscape; Jimmy Ochan, retired Marine Corps veteran; Jason Brownell, cofounder, HeroHomes; Jim Tuzzolino, region vice president, Ruppert Landscape.
“The Ruppert/HeroHomes day was by far the most effective, collaborative, and productive volunteer day we have ever had,” said HeroHomes cofounder, Jason Brownell. “It was incredibly awesome to see employees at every level working so hard for our disabled veteran, creating a beautiful landscape for his forever home. Equally impressive was the logistical coordination and management of donated landscape materials, supplies, and most importantly, personnel. Ruppert’s efforts have left a permanent impression on our recipient and his family. They are eternally grateful, as we are, for this beautiful donation.”
The landscape installation portion of the project involved over 450+ hours of work, including two days of site preparation leading up to the big day. Together, the team installed 54 yards of topsoil; 500+ SF of bluestone pavers at the front walk, back patio, and stair landing; seven trees; ~75 shrubs; 220+ perennials and some annuals; two planters; and 10,000 SF of sod.
Five percent of Ruppert’s annual profit is used to support charitable causes. A large portion of the giving is managed directly by the branches to ensure that employees are intimately involved—preferably with hands-on projects—and have a greater connection to what’s being donated.
“We got involved with HeroHomes through our project manager, Janelle Stewart, who is childhood friends with cofounder Jason Brownell,” said Mike Ryan, assistant branch manager in Ruppert’s Virginia landscape construction branch. “We first partnered with them in 2019 to install the landscape on the Slease family home.” (Learn more about the Slease home project.)
“Helping our veterans is very important to me and my family—my son is going to be commissioning into the Navy this May as an officer from VMI and my daughter is Navy ROTC at Norwich University,” said Janelle Stewart. “I reached out to Jason last year when I saw that he had begun another forever home for one of our veterans who sacrificed so much. This project gave me an opportunity to not only help a veteran and his family find a peaceful home to live in, but also to engage my Ruppert family in the cause. I am grateful to work for a company that values giving back to the community and encourages their employees to further causes that are close to their heart.”
Mike added, “I think we can all agree that our veterans have given more for our country than most and it’s an honor to be able to a part of such a great project. This is our second HeroHomes project, and hopefully not our last.”
- JK Enterprise Landscape Supply, LLC
- Site One
- Stone Center
- Perennial Farms
- South Riding Nurseries
- Quantico Creek
- Extreme Steel
HeroHomes is a 501(c)3 not for profit foundation established to build houses for those who have fought for the preservation of freedom and democracy for others. These deserving vets and their families cannot regain what they lost defending our country, but we can give them a new start in building a solid foundation for their future and the dignity of an independent life in a wonderful small town community setting. HeroHomes provides the opportunity for disabled veterans to rejoin society with the security and pride of home ownership. To learn more, visit https://www.herohomesloudoun.org/
About Ruppert Landscape
Ruppert Landscape, a family and employee-owned business, has been an industry-leading provider of commercial landscape construction and management services for nearly 50 years. Headquartered in Laytonsville, Maryland, the company employs over 2000 people and serves customers from 30 branches in eight primary markets: Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C., Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, and Nashville. The company has a long-standing tradition of growing its team and giving back to the community. Learn more at www.ruppertlandscape.com.