Every once in a while you hear about a person, group or entity doing something for the common good. Not to make money, or for any personal gain, but rather because it is simply the right thing to do. In my opinion we don’t hear about things like this often enough. Today, we will. Let me introduce the Detroit Mower Gang.
The Detroit Mower Gang takes the liberty of mowing the abandoned parks and playgrounds that the city of Detroit no longer maintains. In addition, the gang whacks weeds, fixes equipment (such as swing sets) and cleans up garbage and debris in the area.
The beauty about this group is that it is compiled strictly of volunteers. These volunteers, use their own equipment, their own gas and their own vehicles to get to the site and transport all of the necessary tools themselves. Not for monetary compensation, but for something more valuable—the satisfaction of helping a city that is in desperate need.
“It is one of my favorite things to do,” said founder Tom Nardone, in reference to mowing lawns. Nardone is also the president of PriveCo., Inc. When he heard the city of Detroit announce it would no longer keep up with maintenance on abandoned parks and playgrounds, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Nardone started the initiative in 2010. Since then he has cleaned up several parks. In 2013, the Mower Gang serviced 14 different parks and playgrounds.
The city of Detroit has embraced what the group is doing. The residents know that because of the Detroit Mower Gang, children can still play on playgrounds and people are free to walk about parks. “People love us,” Nardone said. “We get a lot of love around the city.”
The Motown Mowdown, presented by Husqvarna, is the gang’s largest event. The 2014 Mowdown will be held on Saturday, May 17. The twelve-hour long affair begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m. During this twelve-hour marathon, the gang will attempt to mow and clean up as many parks as possible. The Mowdown usually sees the number of volunteers increase to more than 120 people (there is usually 25 to 30 volunteers for a normal cleanup)!
The person who puts the most hours on his/her mower during the marathon will be crowned the “Mower Gang Grand Champion.” This person gets to carry a championship belt for an entire year. Others awards will be given at the end of the event.
The Detroit Mower Gang usually meets every other Wednesday and is always welcoming volunteers. For more information, or if you are looking for ways to get involved, keep up with the group’s Facebook page and show up to an event. Please remember to bring your own equipment.
Tom Nardone is doing all he can to make a difference for Detroit. He is a great guy with a hilarious sense of humor and he could use your help. If you don’t have equipment, extra hands for cleaning up are always welcome!