Over the past few years our Westchester house has undergone a bit of a transformation. A beautiful home tucked into a lovely Golden Valley neighborhood; the house was almost perfect for the people who live and work there. Why almost? Up until this summer there was one missing component—an accessible and convenient outdoor gathering space.
The original patio was located outside the lower-level walkout, which meant it was not convenient. It also took a flight of stairs to get there, which means that it was not fully accessible. Sure, the yard was fine, but no one was able to utilize or fully enjoy it.
Volunteers from United HealthGroup’s Medicare and Retirement Part D finance team came to the rescue and over the past three years have stepped up to create an outside oasis for the crew over at Westchester. They started by taking the pavers from the original space and painstakingly moving them up around the hill and to the front yard. Then they leveled the front, put the puzzle pieces back together again, and created a new patio just out the front door. There was yard scaping, power washing and a whole lot of attention paid to making the curb appeal pop.
The new patio makes the whole front yard sing, including the garden beds. Which as you can see from the photos, are thriving with abundant dill, basil and thai basil, ground cherries, iceberg lettuce, zucchini, and lots of tomatoes. In addition to looking great, the redo has made the space more inviting and better for staff in a practical way as well. Annette Ripley, Advanced Assistant Program Manager says, “It’s nice when you come out here to be on a flat surface. It’s good for staff and people served. If you come out here to eat, you won’t have a puddle under foot. And the rocking chair is great on the new pavers.”
United HealthGroup teammates Mike Plath, Mark Giorgi, Maddie Stangland, Bella Frattalone, Jonathan Tishler, Kristen Kuznia and Joe Colwell worked diligently to beautify the entry, and they sure delivered! On Wednesday they celebrated with a BBQ and spent some time making burgers and brats for Denise, Gloria, Mary, and Krystal, as well as staff Annette Ripley and Julie Conrad, and Board Chair, Kevin Pleasant. They all had fun getting to know the ladies at the house, and sharing a meal made it extra special. Mike says, “Everybody can pitch in and be part of community and help out.” Adding, “It’s nice to be here and support a good cause. In our team, we don’t get a lot of direct member impact in our work, so here we get to be in the community and hopefully make an impact, and that is nice.”
Trust us, Mike, you more than make an impact. We cannot do everything on our to-do lists without the support of our dedicated volunteers. And even better, having a crew come out and support one house over time is a beautiful way to build relationships with people, and our mission. We cannot thank you enough.