MARYSVILLE — When Arlington landscaper Joel Martinez woke up to find his livelihood stolen, Pilchuck Rentals of Marysville stepped in to help out a fellow local business and a loyal customer.
Martinez, who ran First Choice Landscaping out of his trailer, finished work at 1 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, and woke up at 6:30 a.m. to find his equipment trailer had been stolen from his driveway.
"All my equipment was in that trailer," Martinez said. "I'd locked it up, and secured it with lights and dogs. My father-in-law had lent me that trailer, so insurance probably won't even cover that. That's what he gets, for giving me so much."
The trailer full of residential and commercial landscaping equipment represented Martinez's life savings, an investment of roughly $10,000 over the course of the past eight years. Worse yet, his next scheduled job was on Monday, Feb. 24.
Martinez found that he was far from alone during his time of need, though. Not only did the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce use its social media channels to send out word of the theft that he'd suffered — along with a listing of some of the items that he'd lost, that Chamber members were advised to keep an eye out for — but Martinez also received a loan of a Honda commercial lawnmower and a Stihl backpack leaf-blower from Lance Brown, of Pilchuck Rentals and Sound Power Equipment Sales.
"Lance used to be my landlord, and I've always bought my equipment from him," Martinez said. "He told me not to worry about the cost, and to come pay him when I had the money. It's nice to know that there are still some good people in the world."
"We're just sponsoring him for a couple of months, so he can get back on his feet and get his work done," said Brown, who noted that local landscapers' season has started early this year. "Joel has been a loyal customer since day one, and he's a community asset, so by making sure he's covered, what goes around can come around. It's all about community spirit and helping people stay employed."
"I don't know what I would have done without Lance's help," Martinez said. "When things like this happen, you can either quit or keep going, and I've got too much invested to stop now."