Beloved local figure Burt Mann, also known as ‘The Walking Mann,’ received a much-deserved gift from national home construction company Pulte Homes this past week.
The company installed a new watering system for the 100-year-old World War II veteran’s garden that surrounds his bench, donated by Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis, relieving him of the laborious task of manually watering his plants daily.
Burt, known for his daily walks around North Bend, Washington, has maintained his garden for a while, watering it with gallon jugs on his walker. His struggle with watering was recently noticed by a resident, Tom Armour, who decided to take action.
“When I noticed the burden it was for Burt, I decided to reach out to Pulte Homes leadership,” Armour said. “And within 24 hours, Burt’s burden became a blessing.”
Thomas Gallagher, Construction Manager for Pulte Homes at the Townhome Project 109 Degrees, says, “We had landscapers on site, so coordination of this was easy. When the idea came, everyone stopped to do something special for Burt knowing his story as a Veteran. Our subcontractors jumped on this for no charge.”
PulteHomes’ swift response was enthusiastically received, with the company agreeing to help and insisting on doing so quickly. It’s not something Pulte will always do, but Gallagher said when an idea hits to change someone’s life, it seems like the right thing to do; everyone wins.
On the morning of June 14th, within just hours of being contacted, a team from Pulte Homes met with Burt. By 10:30 a.m., four new sprinklers were installed and functioning, bathing Burt’s cherished garden in water. A once difficult task had become a moment of joy for Burt, who was visibly moved.
“I’ve walked many times with Burt but never talked about the need for water for his plants. Words are inadequate to convey how grateful Burt is for Pulte Homes’ generosity!” Tom added. The quick response and generous act by Pulte Homes are a testament to community spirit and goodwill.
Burt’s long journey includes being wounded in action on the beaches of Normandy, living on the streets of Chicago due to shell shock, and eventually building a successful life. Burt, who turned 100 last February, has inspired the North Bend community, putting others before himself and serving as a local hero.
Despite his hardships, Burt’s resilience and positive attitude remained unwavering. After building quite a life for himself, he retired to North Bend around 30 years ago. Since then, he’s been an everyday hero, walking the streets and engaging with locals.
This act of kindness bestowed upon Burt is a testament to the sense of community in North Bend. As stated by Armour, who initiated the project, “In the Snoqualmie Valley, we don’t need to look to entertainers or athletes to be our heroes – we have our very own hero, Burt Mann, ‘The Walking Mann.'”
Pulte Homes have helped to alleviate one of the burdens for North Bend’s local hero. The joyous event signifies a powerful reminder of the impact of community solidarity and reaching out to help others.
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