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Volunteer arborist group plants new trees at Utah Veterans Cemetery

Volunteers with Saluting Branches plant trees and do landscaping work at the Utah Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery in Bluffdale Wednesday. (Jeffrey Dahdah, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

BLUFFDALE— There are 364 days a year not called Veterans Day.

But even on a random Wednesday, Jackson Chandler is thinking about people who served.

"You know, you've got to walk by all those headstones," said Chandler. "You can't not see all the headstones of all those people who are resting here."

He is one of several volunteers with the group Saluting Branches. Their mission is to plant trees and do landscaping work at veterans cemeteries across the country.

"When we get to come and give back to people who gave so much to us and the things we care about, it brightens our day," said Chandler.

Wednesday, these arborists were at the Utah Veterans Memorial Park and Cemetery in Bluffdale.

They planted nearly two dozen trees, pruned old trees, and did some cleanup work — to make the cemetery look worthy as a final resting place for American heroes.

"Just giving back to the community. I recently moved to Utah," said Joe Albert, who was one of the arborist volunteers.

Albert, who used to be a corrections officer in a Minnesota jail, likes volunteering for this kind of work because it makes him feel better about society.

Now, he's surrounded by people who want to do good.

"These trees aren't cheap," said Albert. "Each one of these trees can run over $300 to $400."

Saluting Branches relies on donations to pay for trees which different groups plant across the country. Several Utah companies also donated time and equipment for the Utah Veterans Memorial Park project.

"We also make the existing trees look better and safer and healthier," said Chandler.

It is hard work and takes time to do it right.

However, for these volunteers, they'd do it every day if possible.

"This is what makes us happy," said Chandler.

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