Joint Task Force Homeland Defense contractor earns “Volunteer of the Year” award

| November 24, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photos by
Darrell D. Ames
Joint Task Force-Homeland Defense Public Affairs

Sean Casey’s, JTF-HD contractor, volunteer duties include maintaining irrigation areas, mowing lawns, controlling weeds, and taking care of the native Hawaiian plants and garden on the flanks of Diamond Head.

FORT SHAFTER — While many his age spend their time watching television, enjoying the club scene, going to movies, or updating their Facebook pages, Sean Casey finds enjoyment in mowing lawns, pulling weeds, and other duties related to caring for native Hawaiian plants.

Casey, a planning support contractor for Joint Task Force-Homeland Defense, here, relishes his ‘green thumb’ moments with great elation. “I love working outdoors with my hands,” Casey said. “I believe gardening and landscaping are pure art forms and I find it very relaxing,” he added.

Casey’s enjoyment of his off-duty activities led to him being named the 2010 Betty Crocker Landscape Volunteer of the Year.

“When I first started mentioning it to my family and friends they thought I had become a chef,” Casey said. The Betty Crocker Landscape Awards ceremony is an annual recognition and acknowledgement of the many people working daily to help keep Hawaii one of the most beautiful locations in the world.

Both professionally designed and installed landscapes and private landscapes are celebrated with great fanfare every year. “The people that work and maintain these treasures simply have an avid interest in gardening and a concern for their environment,” Bornhorst added.

“Sean Casey is the long term volunteer who helped plan the beginnings of the Leahi Millennium Peace Garden back in 1998 as the Director of Youth for Environmental Service,” said Bornhorst.

Bornhorst, a member and volunteer with the Garden Club of Honolulu, met Casey over the years while both were donating their time to the garden. It was this group that nominated him for the award. “Gardening is a lifetime commitment for me,” said Casey. “I spend about five to 10 hours a week, but it varies. I like doing the work. It’s lots of fun for me and I’m a pretty practical person, plus I enjoy promoting and recognizing Hawaii’s beauty,” he said.

Casey’s primary affiliation is with the ‘Leahi Mellinnium Peace Garden Hui’, an organization designed to stimulate knowledge and the love of gardening and native Hawaiian plant restoration among the membership and the general public. “They also promote and participate in restoration, improvements, and environmental protection projects,” said Casey. “Sean is such a wonderful person to work with,” Bornhorst said. “This award is a culmination of his strong work ethic, his commitment, and his sense of loyalty. Plus, he’s got that quirky sense of humor, which makes him so fun to work with. He gets along with everyone,” she said. The awards event is named in honor of Betty Crocker, one of the founders of the organization who worked zealously for more than 30 years. “She was dedicated to protect and preserve the state’s beauty and scenic views,” Casey said.

The organization Scenic Hawaii Inc. presents the awards annually and is dedicated to promoting and carrying out programs designed to protect Hawaii’s natural beauty. “Protecting Hawaii’s historical and cultural resources is a very important part of what Scenic Hawaii does,” Bornhorst said. Casey’s volunteer duties include maintaining irrigation areas, mowing lawns, controlling weeds, and taking care of the native Hawaiian plants and garden on the flanks of Diamond Head. “Sean has many challenges in that area,” Bornhorst said. “It’s a very popular area and is also heavily populated by the homeless. It’s a good thing he’s an easygoing guy with a great sense of humor. He’s the epitome of an eagle boy scout and that helps,” she added. “Sean promised he would commit to taking care of it for life,” Bornhorst said. “So far he’s kept his promise,” she said.

JTF-HD, with its Defense Coordinating Element, is based at Fort Shafter, and is designated as the Homeland Defense coordinating agency between the Department of Defense and the civilian authorities in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands as well as three foreign governments in the JOA to include the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Working closely with Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and military organizations in the Pacific, JTF-HD maintains situational awareness, helps coordinate implementation of a comprehensive Critical Infrastructure Protection Program across the JOA, and when required, coordinates and provides DoD resources to help save lives and prevent great property damage.

(Editor’s Note: This article is a Hawaii Army Weekly web exclusive.)

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