AMMON, Idaho (KIDK/KXPI) - Bring volunteering together with lawn care - and get - Vo-LAWN-teer. It's actually the idea of a college student that got two of his buddies to jump on board with him. They take care of lawns for those that can't do it themselves, and it's free.
Chauncey Hensley is a senior in college. His wife also goes to school, and they have a daughter. He's the president of his dental society, but when he's not going to school, he may be found volunteering at the soup kitchen or juggling his new-found hobby, Vo-LAWN-teering to take care of other people's yards, for free.
"How did you come up with this idea?" asked Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz.
"So, I saw a guy on Facebook. I thought it would be cool to do something similar in the area. Needed service hours as college students, and it just kind of blew up from there," said Hensley.
So Vo-LAWN-teer was born, but he needed help.
"Chauncey approached me the day after he started it on Facebook. He's like, 'Hey, I had this idea to start a lawn care system, a free service where people that can't help themselves and it exploded. You know, like 12 kids volunteering, tons of lawns, people donating equipment, and I'm busy, and I need help.' So I was like, 'Sweet, let's do it.' And I have a sister who is single mom. Her husband passed away, so I could connect with someone that needs the help," said Jason Rinker.
They've had people donate equipment from mowers - to trimmers - to other things.
Actually, I just got this trailer yesterday. We got it pretty cheap from a lady and so," said Hensley.
But what good is equipment if they don't have extra hands? Elisabeth Mercado will be a freshman at Hillcrest High School in Ammon. Her mother saw an opportunity for Elisabeth and her brother, Evan, to volunteer.
"She just told us and said it might be fun," said Elisabeth.
"Me, personally, I love giving service for other people, for those who can't go do the work themselves. It's just a great feeling to go out and serve others," said Evan.
The lawn was long before, but after some time from Vo-LAWN-teer, it looks nicely groomed. But the real approval comes from the homeowner, like Barbara Arehart.
"For somebody like me who can't get out and mow my own lawn, it is such a blessing to have them come out here and do this. It's amazing," said Arehart.
Time to "Pay It Forward."
"Chauncey, how are you?" said Kory Carling, walking in to interrupt the interview.
"Good," said Hensley.
"My name is Kory. I'm with Mountain America Credit Union," said Carling.
"Nice to meet you," said Hensley.
"Your organization has created a fun and much-needed service for out community and we know there are costs associated with those acts of kindness. So I'm here today to help you," said Carling.
"Oh, really?" asked Hensley.
"We're here to today to help 'Pay It Forward,'" said Carling.
"Oh, wow!" said Hensley.
"And I've brought with me today $500 in cash," said Carling.
"Oh, wow! Holy cow!" said Hensley.
"I know you guys will put toward good use and continue to improve our community, so thank you so much for all you do," said Carling.
"We appreciate that. Yeah, that's going to be super helpful. Thank you so much," said Hensley.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"Nice to meet you," said Hensley.
"Great job," Carling.
"Thanks man," said Rinker.
"Awesome. That will be super helpful," said Hensley.
If you would like to volunteer to help or know someone that could use some extra help with their lawn, the best way to contact this group is through Facebook, just search Vo-LAWN-teer. They also have a gmail address using the same name. Plus, they have a GoFundMe page.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday and Thursday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.