Herbi-Systems owner volunteers for 14th year at Arlington Cemetery

ARLINGTON, Va. — A Bartlett businessman is among the leaders who donate their services and their time to preserve the grounds of historic Arlington National Cemetery each July at the annual Renewal and Remembrance (R&R) event.

Herbi-Systems Inc.’s owner Kenny Crenshaw, known for his war on weeds in the greater Memphis area, recently supervised about 300 of the 400 volunteers from around the country in planning stages and assigning work in various sections of the cemetery. His understudy, Don Zerby, owner of Ecolawn Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio, collaborated with him in supervisory duties.

The two lawn care experts scheduled volunteer assignments and oversaw the lime and phosphorous applications, as well as aeration services in key sections. Arlington cemetery sits on more than 600 acres, and volunteers treat 200+ acres of the property.

Arlington cemetery maintains the property overall, Crenshaw said. For example, gravestones are pressure washed to protect from the elements. Each year, volunteers strive to fill in the gaps with grounds-keeping tasks that the cemetery’s budget doesn’t cover.

Crenshaw said, “It is our desire to fulfill a wish list for Arlington each year, especially in light of tight governmental budgets.”

His longstanding commitment is in reverence to those who served their country as well as specifically to honor relatives buried there. He buried his Aunt Frances at Arlington in March alongside his Uncle Ken Kruger, who served in the U.S. Navy as a naval carrier pilot. This year, his wife, Melissa, and public relations consultant Kim Brukardt accompanied him on the trip to take care of the historic cemetery.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Arlington R&R event. It was also the first year of expanded labors to include an additional historic cemetery in Washington, D.C. This year, Crenshaw also supervised volunteer efforts to treat about 15 acres at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery with lime as well as the provision of aeration services.

“We are always open to doing more and this year we received an administrative request for the addition of yet another historic cemetery,” he said.

During opening ceremonies on July 17, John Eggleston, chair of the Arlington National Cemetery Renewal and Remembrance (R&R) event, said, “This is the largest, most important event of our industry.”

Crenshaw, who holds the title of champion (leader) at the R&R, is now in his 14th year of making the 900-mile trip to volunteer his services. He echoed Eggleston’s sentiments.

“All the big names in our industry are here: John Deere, Caterpillar, New Holland Construction and Kubota,” Crenshaw said. “All these names represent the top 1 percent of our industry and they are all competitors. But once a year, they come together as one to support the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP)Renewal and Remembrance project.”

In addition to Herbi-Systems, Tennessee-based participants and competitors included Lawn Butler, SSC Service Solutions and TruGreen. Coincidentally enough, there was also a participating company called Bartlett Tree Experts, but they are not from Bartlett, Tenn. Instead, they are a worldwide operation with offices in Nashville, Knoxville and Johnson City, Tenn.

Among those buried at Arlington are the 27th president, William H. Taft, and the 35th president, John F. Kennedy, as well as WWII hero and film star Audie Murphy.

For more information on NALP, visit landscapeprofessionals.org. To contact Herbi-Systems, call (901) 382-5296 or visit herbi-systems.com.

CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to carolyn.bahm@journalinc.com.