Just two days before Christmas, a bank robbery in Tupelo, Miss., ended tragically for two police officers and their families. Gale Stauffer, 38, was shot and killed, leaving behind a wife of 10 years and their two young children. A second officer, Joseph Maher, was also shot and sustained severe injuries.
Gale Stauffer was an eight-year veteran of the Tupelo Police Department. He was also the first law enforcement officer in Tupelo to be killed in the line of duty. As a result, the community came together to rally around his widow, Beth, and their two kids. An integral part of that effort was Mike Kirk, owner of U.S. Lawns in New Albany.
“As a business owner, I’ve always given back to my community,” said Mike, whose territory spans from Tupelo to Oxford. “This was probably the most significant effort we’ve ever been involved in.”
The project, initially titled “Build for Beth,” was started by a local faith-based group. Soon, it grew to involve the entire Tupelo business community. This “gesture of love” was an effort to remodel and expand the Stauffer home, so that Beth and the children would have a comfortable place to live.
“Beth should not have to worry about a leaky faucet, a window that doesn’t work, or a roof that needs to be replaced,” said a letter from the project’s organizers. The Stauffer home was completely remodeled, with a 900 square foot addition, all new furnishing, and a new lawn and landscape—for which U.S. Lawns donated all the materials, equipment and labor.
When the community decided to rebuild the Maher home as well, U.S. Lawns lead the way with tree removal, sodding, seeding, and new landscaping.
According to Mike Kirk, hundreds of volunteers and businesses contributed their time, talent and resources “to ensure that these officers and their families were taken care of. Our U.S. Lawns family created beautiful lawns and landscapes for them to enjoy for years to come.”
Mike says the New Albany team is proud of the way they were able to help their neighbors, which created a sense of pride in the U.S. Lawns organization.
“Improve your community. Improve your life. For us, that’s become a way of doing business.”