On Monday, November 10th Long Island landscape design firm Above All Masonry hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reveal the backyard makeover of the first annual Welcome Home project recipients, combat veteran Jacob Wolf and his fiancee Leah Ottenbriet.
Atlantic Beach mayor George Pappas, members of his staff, representatives from Hope For the Warriors, and Welcome Home donor partners joined Above All Masonry owners Stephen and Lis Bono at the ceremony to thank Jacob and Leah for their service and sacrifices.
"We have been so excited to share the results of the Welcome Home project with Jacob and Leah," said Lis Bono. "Their story really touched us, and now that Jacob is home for good, we're so honored to be able to provide a new backyard where he, Leah, and the rest of their family can really relax and enjoy time together."
For the remodel, Above All Masonry employees installed a paver patio throughout the entirety of the yard. The patio includes an outdoor fire pit with a seating wall, and Above All Masonry built a new stoop leading to the home's back door. Fresh landscaping plantings and outdoor lighting were also added around the perimeter of the yard.
Previously, the yard was only used for storage. "It [was] a real eye-sore and quite embarrassing...akin to the show Sanford and Son," Jacob said in an interview with Above All Masonry last month.
Jacob enlisted in the Army in 1992, and served many deployments in combat zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan. He suffered several injuries, many with lingering side effects, before finally retiring in 2013. "There was no grand homecoming, no fanfare. Just a quiet 'thank you', and I retired. A hug and a whisper in my ear from higher-ups that they really didn’t think I would make it out alive," Wolf told us.
At the Welcome Home reveal, Mayor Pappas spoke at the event, thanking Jacob for his service, and presented him with a certificate recognizing his service and contribution to the community of Atlantic Beach.
Above All Masonry also presented Jacob with a plaque on behalf of the Long Island community, recognizing his courage, heroism, and personal sacrifice during his service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global war on terror.
"The whole community really turned out to support our first Welcome Home project, and to show Jacob our gratitude for his service," said Bono. "We really want to thank Jake, the owner of Speakeasy in Long Beach for providing refreshments, Tim at the Dough Hut for the awesome donuts, and all of our donor partners for helping to make this landscape remodel possible."
Several Long Island landscaping companies contributed supplies and materials free of charge: pavers and wall stones from Unilock of Brewster; lava stone from MGO Stone of Islandia; landscape plantings from Garden Dept of Deer Park; masonry materials from Astro Masonry & Supply of Deer Park; and lighting fixtures from Kichler. Design services were provided by Designing With Elements of Bohemia, NY.