Victoria landscaping business cleans up city park for free
Aug. 14, 2014 at 6:15 p.m.
Updated Aug. 14, 2014 at 11:21 p.m.
Ask Ashlee Rogers and she will say most everything about Albert Pena's landscaping business is serendipitous.
The 30-year-old became the manager at Pena's business after he showed up on her doorstep to deliver a quote for removing a giant pecan tree that fell on her house after a storm in May 2010.
Pena himself never intended to to become a landscaper. After working as a plumber most of his life, he started mowing a few lawns at the age of 62 to supplement his Social Security income.
But soon, the phone began to ring, and Call Albert Landscaping was born.
"I like to do quality work," he said. "I guess quality work is what got us to where we are today."
Fourteen years later, Pena, now 76, has two crews of three people to do the landscaping for him.
Pena and one of his crews toiled in the heat Thursday at Will Rogers Park, cleaning brush and preparing to grind down the stumps of trees they had cut down the day before - yet another serendipitous occurrence in his career.
After being asked to give the city of Victoria an estimate for cutting down two dead trees - one at the park and another at Riverside Park - Pena was informed that the city's budget could only allow for one to be removed. This didn't deter Pena.
"I think it's a nice park, and why not keep it nice?" he said. "If I can afford to help them, why not be willing to?"
After crunching numbers with Rogers, Pena called the city back and asked whether he could remove the tree anyway, without the $1,100 he quoted them.
"I told Ashlee I want to do it like I was being paid for it," he said.
After the tree was cut down, Pena didn't stop. His crew continued to remove another dead tree, clean up a set of shrubs and remove some unsightly brush from another corner of the park - all for free.
"If you do good things, it always comes back," he said. "I already got paid with the good feeling of helping others, regardless of whether it comes back."