The Swift-Coles Historic Home in Bon Secour is a popular venue for weddings and receptions, due in no small part to its picturesque location. Nestled among live oaks draped in Spanish moss, the 6,000-square-foot home was originally constructed in 1882, with additions made in 1902 and 1908.
“Our trees are 120 years old or more,” said manager Sandy Forsman. “They’re gorgeous, but they tower over the roof of the house. When dead limbs need to be trimmed back, it’s not a small task.”
However, trimming tree limbs, no matter how high, is just another day on the job for the Baldwin EMC Right of Way (ROW) crew. So when they were asked to volunteer some time recently at the historic Baldwin County site, it was a perfect fit.
“We did everything from bush hogging to cutting down dead limbs to hand cutting,” said ROW crew chief Ric Boutin. “In a place this size with so many trees and so much landscaping, that’s a lot to keep up with, a lot of repairs to make. Helping Miss Sandy, we were doing a lot of the same things we do every day, it was just in a different context. We all enjoy giving back to the community, and a lot of us are familiar with the house and have attended events there. It’s great to be able to do a good deed without expecting anything in return.”
This was the third year ROW Technician II Mitchell Johnson has spent his community leave day at the Swift-Coles Home. “The first year we helped build an off-ramp to make it accessible, and then we leveled out the sand for the driveway,” Johnson said. “The second year we cut up some of our power poles to use as curb stops, and we trimmed trees and cut hedges. This time we had the bush hog with us. Miss Sandy was really organized and knew exactly what she wanted done. It’s a nice little place and I enjoy helping out.”
“I focused on cutting dead limbs out of the oak trees,” said ROW Technician II Nicholas Junger. “This is such a cool area and I really like old houses. I think it’s amazing to have the opportunity to give back.”
Indeed, with the trees taller than the house, “It is a huge help to have the crews out here in their bucket trucks,” Forsman said. “We have areas that get so overgrown so quickly, but the Baldwin EMC crews are very careful and they really knew what they are doing. I hope to continue this partnership into the future.”