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Local veteran to get free landscaping work

Work to be done by Joshua Tree Landscaping

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Nov 23, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED From left, Joshua Hill, Howard Horton, Barbara Horton and Terri Passaro at the Horton home after the Hortons learned they were getting landscaping done on their property.

A local veteran is going to have his yard transformed as a thank you for his service from the community in which he lives.

Cape Coral-based Joshua Tree Landscaping, through the owner of a local retirement community, is paying it forward to Howard Horton, an American veteran who lives in the Tara Woods community in North Fort Myers. Horton will be treated to a new landscape free of charge.

The gift was part of “Operation Payback,” a program designed by Hometown America, which owns Tara Woods to help those who served our country by taking on landscaping projects that could normally run in the thousands of dollars.

Mischelle Divietro, administrative assistant at Tara Woods and Hometown America, which owns the community, said they wanted to do something that would stand out for the community’s veterans.

“They’ve been through a lot and are getting up there in age and wanted to make sure they were recognized,” Divietro said. “We put the veterans names in a hat and pulled a name out and it was Howard.”

Hometown America contacted Joshua Tree, one of their vendors who does landscaping at Tara Woods, who came up with the plan for Horton’s home.

Howard, who served in Vietnam from 1971-73, moved to the community in February from Alabama. He is partially disabled and on oxygen and is unable to do much work on his lawn, Divietro said.

Horton said he was surprised by the gift, but he wasn’t about to turn down the help.

“I’d be crazy not to appreciate it. It’s a very nice thing they did,” Horton said. “They wanted to do something nice for a veteran and I ended up getting picked.”

The job is expected to be done in early December. Horton said he is going to let his wife decide what needs to be done.

Joshua Tree Landscaping could not be immediately reached for comment.