Community Builder: 3,000 trees and counting -- Midlands man leads beautification efforts

IRMO, SC (WIS) - On this Earth Day, one Midlands man is doing his part to make the Irmo community a little greener and lives a little brighter.

Jake Moore is dedicated to making a difference in the Midlands -- one beautification project at a time, and that's what led those who know him to nominate his as a Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes.

"When you walk out, even the kids when they first came out, it was like, 'Wow!'" said Tina McCaskill, principal at Irmo Elementary, as she discussed the transformation on the backside of the school.

"It was love grass, so it just kind of had this appeal of almost weeds," McCaskill said.

But as they have done for years, the Irmo Arbor Day Committee stepped in to help out led by founding member Moore.

"We came in and removed all the weeds, then we basically graded it down and tried to get it as level as we could," Moore said. "Then we came in and put in junipers, crepe myrtles, and magnolias."

The committee also added mulch and irrigation. Moore and the Irmo Arbor Day Committee teamed up with the Lexington-Richland Five school district to finance the project. They still want to do more.

"We want to put oak trees all down that fence line, we want to do the Fork Avenue side, we want to do the teacher parking lot," Moore said.

This is the third elementary school the Irmo Arbor Day Committee has helped to landscape. They've led the beautification efforts at local churches, railroad tracks and even created the Irmo Veterans Park. Moore's efforts have led to the planting of 3,000 trees in Richland and Lexington counties.

"Where you have beautified areas, crime goes down, property values stabilize, businesses flourish, and the community is basically better," Moore said.

And Moore's desire to always make things better is why those who know him nominated him as a Community Builder.

Moore says the $1,000 he received from Mungo Homes will go right to the $20,000 the committee is working to raise to finish the project at Irmo Elementary. He adds every little bit helps.

"We'd love to get more individuals involved," Moore said. "We've had about 1,000 citizens from Irmo in one form or fashion participate with the Arbor Day committee. So we're really proud of the citizen participation we have, the volunteer participation. It's been a really nice effort."

If you'd like to help by donating to the Arbor Day Committee or volunteering with their efforts, you can reach to Jake or other members of the Arbor Day Committee at or . You can also call Jake's law firm, Taylor Law Firm, P.A., at 796-9160 and ask for Amber or Jake.

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