Dozens want to help landscape reservist's vacant home

By John Trumbo, Herald staff writerOctober 6, 2008 

Dozens of people have offered to help a Kennewick resident get his new home landscaped while he is away on military duty in Kuwait.

The offers began coming soon after the Herald published a story Sunday about Burke Jensen being told by the developer of his subdivision that the home in the Oak Hills Country Estates south of Kennewick was an eyesore without the landscaping that was supposed to be in place within a year after Burke and his wife moved in.

Burke, who was involuntarily assigned as a reservist last May, paid a landscaper to do the irrigation and seeding on the 2.5-acre property this summer, but the landscaper apparently skipped out without finishing the job.

More than a dozen people called the newspaper Sunday, and many more included comments on the Herald's website, criticizing the developer, Chick Edwards, who said he alone represented the homeowners' association because he owns the largest amount of land in the project.

"This to me this is very unpatriotic not to understand that (Jensen) is doing his duty as a soldier," Jose Salazar said in an e-mail.

Steve Sutter, manager of Hertz Equipment Rental in Kennewick, said he wants to help "mobilize folks to get the landscaping done to satisfy Mr. Edwards."

Other offers have come from a contractor, a plumber, the Home Depot stores in Kennewick and West Richland, the First Christian Church in Pasco and many individuals, including some military reservists and the ACES organization in the Tri-Cities.

Jensen's wife, who is pregnant, chose to move in with family in another state while her husband is assigned in Kuwait, leaving their home unoccupied.

But some of Jensen's co-workers at Energy Northwest have been keeping an eye on the property and helping with weed maintenance.

Comments in reaction to the story can be reviewed at www.tricityherald.com. Select the story "Reservist faces landscape woes," published Sunday.

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