This year Stockade had the honor of joining the North American Fence Contractors Association (NAFCA) at their annual service project at Arlington National Cemetery. Each year, a dedicated group of volunteers donate their time and talent to build or maintain fence on the grounds of America’s most hallowed resting place for combat veterans who lost their lives in service to their country.
This year’s project involved building 275 feet of 7 foot high chain link around a maintenance area at the cemetery. Brian West, Stockade Territory Manager for the Southeast, was on hand to help out and used the word “humbling” to describe both the place and the experience.
“I had never been to Arlington, so to be there at all was pretty neat, but to be there working and contributing to maintaining the grounds made it a really special project.”
Brian and his wife Libby were part of a group of about 10 volunteers who attended. It was a smaller group than year’s past, but everyone involved was extremely dedicated and understood the importance of the work. The effort was led by Clint Iams of Log Cabin Fence in Amity PA, who is currently the Executive Director of NAFCA. This was the first time the group has been able to get together in a number of years due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“In past years there would be 35-40 people in attendance. Given this year was our first project since 2019, it was a much smaller group. We are looking forward to building back up to the larger events of the past.” said Clint.
To mark the significance of the project, the group brings with them a plaque that symbolizes the spirit and the history of their efforts. In 2012, Scott Ruete, US Coast Guard (Retired) and past chairman of the Arlington project, saw a cherry tree limb growing through a section of 70-year-old chain link on the grounds. It had to be removed, but a portion of the tree was kept and memorialized in the plaque which also features 2 medallions given by the staff at Arlington National Cemetery. Holes were drilled in the wood to hold shell casings from a 21-gun salute, and a horseshoe was added from a horse that pulled a caisson from one of the many military funerals that are still performed daily at the cemetery.
Every fence contractor understands the importance of keeping the client happy. But it’s a whole new level of pressure when the “client” is the United States Government and you’re at a place as significant as Arlington. Al Martins, Owner of Fence Armor and current President of NAFCA, noted how the finished product was received.
“Both Chief Warrant Officer Rios and his Superintendent were very impressed with the quality of the work and commented on how quickly the job got done. A lot of that was directly thanks to the Stockade ringing tool – it would have taken a lot longer using traditional pliers.”
To assist with the project, Stockade donated all of the ring fasteners used to attach the tension wire to the top and bottom of the chain link, along with the use of our Pneumatic Ringfast tool.
Clint noted how the Ringfast made “quick work” of securing the chain link to the tension wires. “I am not a chainlink contractor; however, if I was I would certainly want that tool on my truck.”
Both Al and Clint have been involved with this project for multiple years. This was the seventh service project that Clint has volunteered for at Arlington. With regards to the significance of what they were there to do, he remarked:
“It is always a humbling experience to be working and look up to see the rows and rows of white headstones. These projects we complete are miniscule compared to those who gave their life in service of our country.“
Thank you to NAFCA and all of the volunteers who helped contribute to this terrific project!
Al Martins, Fence Armor, Ft Lauderdale, FL
Mart Prost, Prost Inc, Williamsburg, ON, Canada
Glenn Butterfield, Certainteed, Malvern, PA
Bill and Judy Iams, Log Cabin Fence, Amity, PA
Hurricane Fence of Richmond, VA
Brian and Libby West, Stockade