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Faculty, graduates and businesses join forces to help KPU student

Faculty, graduates and businesses join forces to help KPU student

06/24/2014 - 14:29
(From left) KPU instructors Ron Marchuk (horticulture), Mohamed Sheriff (IT) and Stan Kazymerchyk (horticulture) during the renovation.

Abbotsford, B.C. – Two days after purchasing their new Abbotsford home in March, Agathe Savard’s husband was suddenly struck and paralyzed by Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The disease – the effects of which are generally reversible with years of rehabilitation – had Andrew Tippett in G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre for several months before being able to return to his new home last Friday.

For his homecoming, Savard – a fourth-year information technology student at KPU – reached out to KPU’s school of horticulture for advice on how to transform her front lawn into a putting green where Tippett could regain strength by practicing the game he loves.

Moved by the young couple's situation, KPU turf management instructor Stan Kazymerchyk enlisted the help of local businesses and horticulture graduates to make the request a reality.

"When I contacted the KPU school of horticulture for advice on building a putting green for my ill husband, Andrew, I never dreamed it would turn into such a wonderful experience. Being a student at KPU, I knew that we had top instructors, but this time, they went above and beyond the call of duty,” Savard said.

Kazymerchyk started with securing the necessary materials, which resulted in overwhelming community support. KPU donated the green’s irrigation system, lent tools and a truck for the day and bought pizza for the crew. Peter Szarka of Redwoods Golf Course donated his manual greensmower; Spencer Grundy of Agrium covered the soil test and fertilizer; Glen Kitsul with Poppy Estate Golf Course chipped in rootzone; Bert Bos of Bos Sod Farms donated the bentgrass sod, and; Patrick Kerr from Summerland Golf & Country Club gave the cup-cutter and cups used to place several holes on the green.

The next step was transforming Savard and Tippett's 550 square foot yard (just over 50 square metres) into a surprise putting ground before Tippett returned home.

Helping Kazymerchyk last Friday were KPU turf management graduates Kelsey Stewart, Glen Atamanik and Spencer Grundy; horticulture instructor Ron Marchuk; IT instructor Mohamed Sheriff; Peter Szarka, superintendent of Redwoods Golf Course, and; friends and family of the young couple.

“From the project management aspect and coordination of various resources to the human aspect, ensuring that Andrew would be comfortable on the big day for the 'reveal', Stan and his crew of volunteers really did an exceptional job. They understood the passion for golf that my husband has and demonstrated the same passion for their trade which resulted in the delivery of a phenomenal putting green,” said Savard.

After nine hours of relocating sod, installing paver paths and a new irrigation system, amending and levelling the rootzone and laying the putting green sod, Andrew’s renovation was complete.

"Words cannot express my gratitude and admiration for the work that the volunteers from KPU did for our son Andrew on June 20. What a remarkable act of kindness and such a professional job they did in laying a great putting green,” said father Rick Tippett.

"This installation will allow my hubby to keep active while recovering at home and continue playing the sport that he loves so much. KPU will forever be part of our lives, not only as my graduating institution but also as the great group of people who stepped up and became part of Andrew's road to recovery. 'Thank you' just doesn't seem to quantify our gratitude,” Savard said.

Photos from last Friday are available on KPU’s Flickr page.

Comments from the volunteers, friends and family of Andrew Tippett are below.

For more information about KPU’s school of horticulture, visit: kpu.ca/hort, or come to an information session at KPU Langley on July 15 at 6:30 p.m. (information on website).

KPU has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at www.kpu.ca.

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Caption: (From left) KPU instructors Ron Marchuk (horticulture), Mohamed Sheriff (IT) and Stan Kazymerchyk (horticulture) during last Friday's renovation.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288
hayley.woodin@kpu.ca

Triona King
Communications and Event Specialist
Faculty of Science and Horticulture
t: 604.599.2048
triona.king@kpu.ca

For more KPU news:
@KPUmedia
kpu.ca/newsroom
Flickr

 

Comments:

"Words cannot express my gratitude and admiration for the work that the volunteers from KPU did for our son Andrew on June 20. What a remarkable act of kindness and such a professional job they did in laying a great putting green. Thank you once again to all involved." Rick Tippett, Andrew's father

"I was very impressed and very grateful to all the people who made it possible for Andrew to have a putting green in his own garden. There was a lot of work involved and everyone was so helpful and friendly. Thanks for everything and the donations." Edna Tippett, Andrew's mother

"When I contacted the KPU school of horticulture for advice on building a putting green for my ill husband, Andrew, I never dreamed it would turn into such a wonderful experience. Being a student at KPU, I knew that we had top instructors, but this time, they went above and beyond the call of duty. From the project management aspect and coordination of various resources to the human aspect, ensuring that Andrew would be comfortable on the big day for the 'reveal', Stan and his crew of volunteers really did an exceptional job. They understood the passion for golf that my husband has and demonstrated the same passion for their trade which resulted in the delivery of a phenomenal putting green. This installation will allow my hubby to keep active while recovering at home and continue playing the sport that he loves so much. KPU will forever be part of our lives, not only as my graduating institution but also as the great group of people who stepped up and became part of Andrew's road to recovery. 'Thank you' just doesn't seem to quantify our gratitude." Agathe Savard, Andrew's wife and KPU student

“Volunteering to put in a golf course green on a home lawn started as a way I thought would be good for me to learn and give back to the community with my newly found knowledge and instead turned into an experience in my early turf management career that I will not forget. Regardless of how this putting green turns out in the months and years to come nothing will be as rewarding as seeing the smiles and happiness on everyone’s faces when the finished product was finally done. The biggest reward of all was when the man we did it for took the first putt on that brand new surface and all the aches and pains from that day went away in that moment of pure joy watching that man’s face as he almost sunk that putt. I will never forget the people and new found friends I met on that day because of my knowledge in turf grass management.” - Team member Glen Atamanik, 2014 KPU turf management grad

"‎Jeff and I were very impressed by the all the hard work and generosity from all that contributed to this amazing project for Andrew. A special thank you to KPU and Redwoods Golf Course. It was amazing to see the look on our friends faces Andrew and Agathe knowing that Andrew can now do something that he enjoyed so much." - Michel Mackenzie and her husband Jeff Rafson, family friends

“Stan’s incessant enthusiasm and generosity in wanting to help those in need both in the past and today left me wanting to contribute to that act of giving in any way I can. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of something so special that Stan ad put together so well. The team of volunteers worked hard all day and enthusiastically achieved our goals. The KPU turf program continues to impress!” Team member Peter Szarka, superintendent of Redwoods Golf Course

“Here’s a little shout out to KPU for the excellent work you did yesterday for my friend Andrew who is really struggling right now for any kind of happiness. And I know one thing, this will definitely bring him happiness. You guys went above and beyond and are truly ambassadors of life. Thank you.” Brent Collins, Andrew's friend

“Andrew and Agathe, thank you to you and your family for allowing us into your lives.  Your powers of perseverance, love and support are a beautiful inspiration. Get better soon so we can go golfing.” Stan Kazymerchyk, KPU turf management Instructor