By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico
When Wednesday’s rains flooded Gabriel’s Garden and swamped heavy equipment into two feet of mud, Lori Yanez thought the whole project was literally sunk.
Until a group of camoflauge-clad Samaritans showed up and rolled up their sleeves.
When she explained to a volunteer how the rains had wrecked the gardens and destroyed fledgling plants waiting to be put in the ground, Yanez said she had no idea the military wife she talked to would mobilize troops from Cannon Air Force Base to help.
“I was just in tears because if we couldn’t do it today, it would cost us all of our crop,” she said.
“The seeds were ruined, plants were ruined and everything was ruined.”
But around 10 a.m. Thursday, they started arriving and grabbing shovels, Yanez said. Through the course of the day, more than 40 airmen trickled in, pitching in wherever they were needed at the site on the south side of U.S. 60/84 near Cannon AFB.
“It was actually a bit emotional to see our folks drop what they were doing at work to help a member of the community,” said Maj. Todd Walker, 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Officer.
“We had close to 20 LRS personnel jump in their cars, grab their shovels and gloves and head off base to provide a helping hand for the wonderful mother and son that live at Gabriel’s Garden.”
Gabriel’s Garden is a charitable endeavor Yanez launched this spring in honor of her deceased husband, Gabriel.
Intended as a co-op style, volunteer-run source for fresh food to share with those in need in the community, work had just begun this week to prepare garden beds for planting next week.
But after the rain washed through Wednesday, the garden beds were not only unusable, but impassable for the equipment needed to finish preparing them
The airmen from Cannon Air Force Base’s Logistical Readiness Squadron dug out the equipment, built up the beds and applied mulch so the gardens can now withstand expected rain over the weekend.
“By them coming out and putting in the beds, the rain now is perfect when it hits,” she said.
“All of these guys, they’re just angels they saved it … I cannot begin to say how grateful I am to them.”
On April 24, Yanez said school children will come to the garden to begin planting crops and Saturday, spring chickens will arrive for a program that enables school children to adopt a chicken.
Yanez said the Cannon group has asked if they can adopt her garden program as a special project for their organization and they intend to continue to support the effort.