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Grosh keeps interchange spiffy

April 15, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Thomas Grosh wants to make sure visitors to Clear Spring get a great first impression of his hometown. That's why the owner of Grosh's Lawn Service volunteers his time and equipment to maintain the Interstate-70 westbound interchange at Clear Spring, he said.

"I believe in giving back to the community," said Grosh, 40. "One person can make a difference. If each person had that philosophy, Clear Spring would be a better place, Washington County would be better and our country would be better."

Grosh is the only person in Washington County - and perhaps in Maryland - to adopt one of the grassy areas next to the highway's on- and off-ramps, said Diane Michael, Washington County coordinator of the state's Adopt-A-Highway program.

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Grosh's Lawn Service signed the Adopt-A-Highway agreement in Feb. 2001, and performed the maintenance services 38 times in 2002, Michael said.

Grosh and his employees also pick up litter along Interstate-70 at Md. 68 four times each year, she said.

"He does an outstanding job. What he gives is above and beyond the call of duty," Michael said. "Clear Spring is fortunate. He makes the town shine."

Grosh maintains the 12,000-square-foot and 17,000-square-foot parcels of land adjoining the interstate's westbound on- and off-ramps by mowing, trimming, striping and bagging cut grass, applying weed control and fertilizer, and mulching around the property's trees, he said.

"It looks like a ballpark when I'm done," said Grosh, who recently signed on to continue his highway-side work for another two years.

Fertilization, weed control and tree maintenance alone costs Grosh about $1,200 per year - a small expense for improving the community, he said.

"First impressions count," Grosh said. "People coming off the interstate might want to stay in Washington County if they see that we care about how it looks."

Grosh credits his membership in several trade organizations with both inspiring him to take a creative role in community service and with helping him to expand the business he started about 13 years ago. The Associated Landscape Contractors' Association and the Professional Lawncare Association of America encourage members to "think outside the box," Grosh said.

That's what he was doing when he decided in 2000 to sell Christmas trees to raise funds for construction of a new library in Clear Spring, he said.

Grosh purchased about 70 Douglas firs, sold them for $20 each, and donated all the proceeds - more than $1,400 - to the library fund. He also donated a carved wooden duck for library supporters to raffle for the cause, said Margaret Cornett, library committee member.

"Tom Grosh is a very considerate, kind man who is interested in helping his community and the people in it," Cornett said. "He's from a family that would do anything for you."

The Leonard P. Snyder branch of the Washington County Free Library opened in Clear Spring in September 2001 after local volunteers raised the nearly $800,000 - including $200,000 from the county and $350,000 from the L.P. Snyder Fund - needed to build the 8,000-square-foot building.

Grosh plans to continue giving back to a community that has always supported him, he said.

"I love my work. I really feel like I'm living the American dream," Grosh said. "The good Lord has blessed me abundantly."

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