Back on October 24, 2020, when covid was ramping up for another major assault, both physical and economic, Gallant Gold Media hosted a free distribution of native redbud and button bush seedlings, at Parking Lot P at George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia. The campaign was called Trees for Love and the seedlings were being planted to remember those we lost to covid in our communities. Fairfax ReLeaf supplied the seedlings. The Fairfax Tree Commission was the essential liaison that made this all possible, enabling the free seedling distribution to come to fruition by connecting these various organizations.Continue reading “Trees for Love | Planting Seedlings to Remember Those We Lost to Covid”
Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 7, 2020 by Noreen Wise
Gallant Gold Media is excited to share the wonderful news that 247 free redbud and button bush seedlings were distributed to Fairfax County and Northern Virginia residents to plant in remembrance of those lost to Covid in our communities. Fairfax ReLeaf supplied the free seedlings, which Gallant Gold Media distributed through George Mason University’s parking Lot P on Saturday, October 24, 2020. The Fairfax Tree Commission was the essential liaison that made this all possible, enabling the free seedling distribution to come to fruition by connecting these various organizations.
It takes a village.
Apparently, the Trees for Love campaign is the largest community tree planting success in the state of Virginia during 2020. The Burke Centre Conservancy was the largest group of planters, distributing 146 Fairfax ReLeaf free seedlings to their Clusters and residences. The rest of the redbud and button bush seedlings were claimed by Northern Virginia residents, many of whom were moved by friends and family who’d been lost to covid and were searching to find a meaningful way to honor their memory.
One such resident was Dawn Zimmerman. Dawn, a Virginia State licensed professional counselor, operating her solo practice Imago Dei Counseling in Fairfax City, attributes her love of nature and gardening and the outdoors to her grandfather, a midwest farmer, as well as spending her childhood in Thailand. Although born in metro Washington DC, Dawn’s father was a State Department Foreign Service Officer. From a young age Dawn seems to have become well-acquainted with the understanding of how important it is to connect with others in our community and let them know we care, especially during a crisis.
Whether it’s Dawn’s close connection to the State Department, her career as a counselor, or her passion for nature, Dawn felt compelled to enrich Northern Virginia with multiple Virginia Native redbuds and button bushes to honor the five family and friends she’s lost to Covid. Dawn wanted us to know more than just their names though, she was eager to share their stories.
Ron Ontko: Dawn’s honorary uncle, passed away from Covid related complications on April 2, 2020 in Hendersonville, NC. He was 89 years old. Ron and his wife Carol, met in Wisconsin, and after college, while in a young couples group at Grace Lutheran Church in Washington, DC, became good friends with Dawn’s parents. The two couples went on to become lifelong friends. Ron was an avid photographer and devoted ‘Skins fan, but his career was spent in public service. After graduating high school, Ron served in the United States Air Force, before he returned to school. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Russian Studies from the University of Wisconsin and then his master’s degree in international law from George Washington University. From there, Ron worked for the NSA, the United States Senate, and the US State Department, which is quite a remarkable resume. Ron Ontko was a Freemason and a Shiner, participating in fundraising for numerous children’s charities. He is survived by his wife Carol of 62 years, as well as his son, Andrew, and daughter, Julie.
Jack “Zeke” Zimmerman: Zeke is Dawn’s uncle, who was lost to Covid related pneumonia on October 21, 2020 at aged 86 in Frederick, MD. Survived by wife Lynn, sons Steve (Andrea) and grandsons Eric and Mark of Memphis, TN; Paul of Wilmington, DE and was predeceased by son John, Silver Spring, MD. Also survived by Mary Lee Zimmerman, the mother of their three sons; Daughter-in-Law Christie (widow of John) and grandchildren John Paul “JP” and Maria.
The following is a loving tribute written by Zeke’s grandson, Mark Zimmerman:
Zeke Zimmerman was known to many as the “Godfather of DC Metropolitan Area Sandlot Basketball.” GrandJack lived his life around basketball. He grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and fielded basketball teams. He formed teams from players that he would recruit from across the country. Around 1950, having teams with multiple races was unprecedented. My grandfather did not judge a player based on his skin color, but on his basketball ability. Jack was known as Zeke Zimmerman in the D.C. area. He formed a team called “Zeke’s All-Stars.” This was the first team that had both black and white players in the D.C. area. Because my grandfather did not judge a player based on his race, many black basketball players were able to go to college for basketball or even the NBA. A couple of years ago, he gave me a jersey from the 1950 Zeke’s All-Stars team. This jersey is a symbol of my family’s value of inclusion. It did not matter which race wore this specific jersey. The only thing that mattered was that my grandfather saw talent in that young man, and he wanted to help. My family still holds the values of inclusion and equality in our everyday lives, as we do not judge people based on their skin tone, but on their personality.
The following is a State Department obituary with a few extra details provided by Dawn:
Patrick “David” Husar, 67, died May 9, in Arlington, VA. David was born in Lorain, Ohio located on Lake Erie and 30 miles West of Cleveland. At University of Kentucky, where David majored in history, one of his professors encouraged him to consider a career with the Foreign Service. Joining in 1976, Husar served as a consular officer at posts in Pakistan, India, and the Philippines before transitioning to Civil Service. He retired in 2016 and enjoyed long walks around the Washington area, was an avid reader, and was dedicated to his faith. He is survived by his wife, Jonahlyn; a brother Michael; and extended family in the Philippines.
Daniel Lee: Spending a few minutes on Google images to view the architectural designs that Daniel Lee graced upon all of us here in the United States, is sure to inspire. And inspiration is certainly the impulse Mr. Lee appears to have been striving for when he graduated from the Mississippi School of Architecture in 1981 and began his career in classical architecture as an intern with Allen Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg is one of the premier classical architects of the twenty-first century. The son of Protestant missionaries, Mr. Lee’s love of classical architecture sprung from his childhood in Paris, France, surrounded by neoclassical landmarks erected during the reign of Louis XIV and that continued all the way through Louis XVI. Many of us here in Virginia are endowed with an inherent appreciation for classical architecture, which dates back to the founding of our most historic cities. So it’s with great sadness that we lost Mr. Lee to Covid on August 17, 2020, at age 64. Mr. Lee is survived by his wife of 40 years, Leonor Lee, his two sons, Stephen and Christopher, and two daughters, Susanne and Katherine.
There’s an additional friend of the family. In Dawn’s own words:
Pat Purcell died from Covid related complications on May 11th, 2020 in Fairfax, VA. Pat resided in the same Senior living community as my mom and was the elderly mother of Ann Lawrence, a friend of my parents from their local Lutheran Church. Mom and Pat became friends but lived on different floors and in different areas of the building. Interestingly, Pat was actually a member of a local Baptist Church but was adopted by the Lutheran pastor, Rev Sandy Kessinger who made regular visits to their Continuing Care Community.
Dawn spent 10 years working at the State Department before starting her counseling firm. After buying her townhouse, she became involved with her HOA replanting project, which she finds life affirming. During the first five years she hand-dug holes, which is quite a feat, and planted five trees, as well as a slew of shrubs and perennials. Dawn was sidelined from her gardening last year following two minor car accidents which required physical therapy. But thankfully, she returned with all her passion and began removing hundreds of “small, weedy Rose of Sharon saplings and bush honeysuckle” that were rapidly spreading in the HOA areas. She’d learned about the importance of growing Virginia Natives and was determined to correct the situation.
Dawn’s Virginia Native Trees for Love redbud and buttonbush seedlings are planted in three HOA areas in Dawn’s Northern Virginia townhouse community. Dawn received a note from one family member who expressed, “That’s perfect; thank you. Not just words but heartfelt, tears flowing, gratitude.”
When I asked Dawn for one final thought on the importance of planting trees, she responded with a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:
“When we plant a tree, we are doing what we can to make our planet a more wholesome and happier dwelling-place for those who come after us if not for ourselves.”
© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 4, 2020 by Noreen Wise
There’s never been a more important time to plant trees than right now. After massive wildfires scorched millions of acres of forests across the western United States, to the ongoing need to cut atmospheric carbon levels in order to reduce global warming, trees are now more important than ever for sustaining human life on our planet. The only way our children will have mature trees tomorrow, is if we plant seedlings today.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in January 2020, hundreds of nations across the globe committed to planting a trillion trees by 2050. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2016 ranking, the United States is 33.93 percent forested area. Sadly, prior to Davos, the United States was hovering well below its potential for tree planting despite how much room we have to plant trees. Canada on the other hand, has been a top performer, planting 500 million trees in 2019. During this same year, the US National Forest Foundation planted 5 million trees, nearly double their 2018 total, which is aggressive, but a long way off Canada’s 500 million. There doesn’t appear to be a national data base keeping track of US totals that incorporates tree planting in local communities on private property, so the total number of trees planted in US for any given year is difficult to calculate. But what we do know, is that the US chopped down 36 million trees in 2019, and in 2020, in addition to the millions of leveled trees we ax on an annual basis, we lost 30 billion mature trees in the West Coast wildfires, which is staggering.
Ethiopia is a 2020 tree planting champion, succeeding at putting 350 million trees in the ground in 12 hours this past July 2020. The US needs to rush to catch up. In most states, trees can only be planted a few months out of the year. There’s a window in both the spring and the fall. Thus, it’s vitally important that we take advantage of each and every opportunity. Homeowners have to be the drivers of our national tree planting efforts if we’re going to succeed.
Planting a tree to remember someone whose life was cut short — whether that be from covid, gun violence, wildfires and other natural disasters, a car accident, cancer, and multiple other tragedies — or is still alive but but going through a very difficult time, is a great way of showing empathy and letting others know a loved one is being thought of regularly. It also motivates us into action. This wonderful way of keeping spirits alive and communities full of hope, helps families and communities heal, while at the same time saving the planet.
Gallant Gold Media is distributing 300 FREE redbud and button bush seedlings on Saturday, October 24, 2020, from 12 noon – 3 PM at GMU, courtesy of Fairfax ReLeaf. Residents in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia can register to pick up a free seedling at GMU so that homeowners and businesses throughout the area can plant trees and bushes this fall to remember all those in our community who’ve been lost to covid. Click here to register. This is first come first serve, so please register ASAP.
If your business has any clients or employees who have loved ones to covid, a redbud seedling is a wonderful gift to let them know you care and empathize with what they’re going through. Redbud’s are a top choice to feature in the front yard landscape, with beautiful pink spring blossoms and very easy to care for while they grow.
Again, limited quantity, with some HOAs ordering large bundles, and first come first serve, so please register ASAP.
© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 18, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings
While solar power has previously been thought to be a beacon of hope for the environment and the economy, the industry is currently in crisis. Amid COVID 19, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) published a press release availing quarter two outcomes.
Prior to the pandemic, it was projected that solar energy projects would offer 302,000 Americans jobs by June of 2020. Instead, the industry saw a job loss of 114,000 workers. SEIA states, “The Q2 solar deployment losses are equivalent to powering 288,000 homes and $3.2 billion in economic investment.” This type of down-turn sets the solar workforce back to levels seen in 2014.
In the same press release, SEIA blames a lack of “strategic government action” for this setback. However, they also state, “with the right policies in place, the solar industry is poised to lead the U.S. out of this economic recession and create jobs for thousands of Americans.”
Just recently, the association published a COVID 19 resource guide for the solar industry. Alongside this guide, they have launched a social media campaign, #RebuildBetter, to build awareness and advocate for the necessary policies to support solar energy.
Now is the perfect time to jump in and switch to renewable energy for your household. It’s super simple to get started. Just click on EnergySage.com to get a free quote and learn about the incentives and rebates in your area. EnergySage will calculate the costs and benefits. Check it out today. It can’t hurt to find out more information about this critical technology. To take advantage of rare incentives, get a free quote today.
There are five main things you can do to support the solar industry in this time of need.
- Submit a Solar Power Testimonial to the SEIA
- Make a personal or company-related donation to support solar-related COVID 19 relief efforts
- Submit company project-level data to EIA
- Support the campaign #RebuildBetter
- Go to EnergySage.com for information and a free quote for installing solar panels to your house.
© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 2, 2020
After three months of staying home, and my commitment to keep on keeping on because it truly is much safer at home, I’ve now become passionate about curbside pickup. It’s such a positive and beneficial reason to get out of the house while still maintaining safe distances.
Last night I had the great fortune of hanging out in Bertucci’s parking lot for ten minutes while I waited for my delicious, piping hot four cheese ravioli. (I love how hot Italian takeout is. If I make ravioli at home, it’s never the same temperature as that of an Italian restaurant. I’ll speculate it’s the oven.) I felt inspired while I waited and soon began to imagine a dozen EV charging stations under the pretty trees, with cars attached to each one. (This was a particularly beautiful parking lot. Big and spacious with lots of nature.)
Charging stations seem like the perfect solution for mitigating the negatives of safer at home. There are so many incentives that businesses can use to fund the installation of EV charging stations. Installing charging stations that are funded by incentives are a painless way for struggling businesses to create jobs. More charging stations, results in more EV car purchases, which results in even more jobs. More charging stations at restaurants in particular equates to increased curbside pickup. This is so easy, and it all begins with the plethora of available incentives and tax credits and partnership with governors who are hoping that businesses will cut emissions quicker to reach the state targets.
Thank you Bertucci’s. This vision all began with your outdoor sign letting passerbys know you were open for curbside pickup. I immediately pulled in and called from the parking lot. Maybe you can throwback to the 50’s and have rollerbladers deliver meals to the cars the way I’ve seen in movies, and have music blaring in the parking lot for a feel good vibe which will make us order more food and hang out longer.
Let’s DO THIS!🎸
© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 17, 2020
by Noreen Wise
The most important rule of thumb in a crisis, is one day at a time. Panic over the long term, when there are so many changing variables, leads to poor decision making in the short term, and then many regrets. This happens because we process the long term based on what we have in the present, and there’s a gap between what we have and what we need. We aren’t able to factor in what we’ll acquire along the way, as well as all the twists and turns we’ll make so we can reach our goals.
Further, there’s so much happening behind the scenes that we’re unaware of. The only thing we can master each day, is each line item on our task list.
- make our beds
- get dressed for work even though we’re staying home
- try and keep same work schedule
- same lunch time
- same work habits
- stay in home quarantine as requested
- eat right
- sleep right
The small things are the only things we have absolute control over. If we strive to perfect each one, and check each off our list once completed, we’ll feel empowered and stable, which will make us that much more confident about the long term.
Then one day, we’ll be startled by unexpected good news. Like today, the military announcing it will donate 5 million face masks. I learned this after stressing for two hours that I didn’t have a face mask but had to run to the store for a quick errand. I was resourceful and came up with an alternative, but still. At the time though, I had no idea that a team in the military was diligently working on this. Filled with frustration earlier in the day, I wasted so much of brain power on what should have been applied to work projects.
In fact, I’ve been amazed by how involved the military has been with COVID-19 challenges. Every day I learn of a new solution the military has delivered to the trenches in the nick of time. Our military leaders are revealing what clever strategists and long term thinkers they are. Unexpected heroes supporting thousands of front line troops, our medical professionals.
According to Defense One, the following is a list of what the United States military has provided in the way of COVID-19 support:
- Military financed Canadian company Medicago has created covid-19 vaccine in record timing, and began human sample testing yesterday, March 16, 2020
- More than 1,600 National Guard have been activated around the country to set up containment zones, and to build “Mash” style hospitals
- Donated 5 million N95 face masks
- Supplied 2,000 ventilators
- USAF flew half million covid-19 test kits from Italy to Tennessee
- And most importantly, decisive leadership, quickly moving into action to execute solutions
So, one day at a time, nailing all the small things, following the CDC guidelines, staying connected through social media, and taking the advice shared on all social media platforms.
We’ve got this. Believe it.
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