For D&B Landscaping, COVID-19 has become personal as the Henry Ford Health System is a major customer for the company, which is headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, a large western suburb of Detroit.
“You have to think of this client as part of your family,” says Dan Bywalec, president of D&B Landscaping. “What would you do if it was your family – how would you help them?” “
D&B Landscaping provides design and construction services for all-residential customers and provides horticultural and snow removal services for 90% commercial and 10% residential customers.
When an executive order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ruled landscaping companies non-essential, D&B Landscaping played a key role for the hospital system in unexpected ways. It started out by driving a truck to pick up essential medical supplies that were in limited supply.
“(It was a situation) you have to be here at 11 am because if you’re not, it’s going to go to someone else,” Bywalec says. “We were happy to be able to help them for a few weeks with guys going and doing this and that.”
The company also helped by building tents for a field hospital at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Henry Ford rented the tents and D&B Landscaping took care of everything else to set up a fully functional facility.
“When you pitch a tent like this, you need to have cement blocks, in case gusts of wind and storms blow,” he says. “We had to bring gravel and level everything to be able to use this tent. Additional lighting had to be installed all around. A diesel generator. It almost reminds me of a MASH unit. That’s kind of what that tent was – a makeshift field hospital. It was remarkable to be able to set up this tent and to have it available ”
The D&B Landscaping team also helped erect a large white ribbon to display at the Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. A 1000 watt LED bulb glowed on the ribbon at night.
(The white ribbons are the Henry Ford Health System’s symbol of gratitude for frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The banner was so popular that D&B Landscaping, with help from a friend of Bywalec in the signage business, installed banners at Henry Ford’s main campus in Detroit as well as signs at the entrance to the hospital on West Grand Boulevard.
“It was really a complete team effort. We were happy that we could do a little bit to improve the attitude and feelings of the people who work, ”he says. “It was good to give back a little love to what they were doing and the way they were sacrificing themselves. This is something that I have never encountered.
Now that D&B Landscaping is back to work, Bywalec says it has been difficult for his company to locate the items necessary for his worker’s safety, such as personal protective equipment. The hand sanitizer comes from a local distillery. Employees spray trucks and lawn equipment with germicide every morning before leaving. Bywalec says employees should wash clothes daily to reduce contamination.
“The last thing you do is want to have a COVID-19 outbreak in your business,” he says.
Overall, Bywalec is grateful to their company for being able to help a customer when needed.
“It was special for us to be able to do that,” he says. “It’s all part of being part of the family. Our client, especially a client that we have had for over 25 years, is like family. I know so many people in this organization.