A Vision of Hope: Landscaper helps give Old Savannah City Mission resident second chance at life

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 1:12 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A lot of businesses across the country are doing their best to find employees to fill countless job openings.

In response, one local landscaper sought help from a community many overlook, the homeless.

“You have to have a good eye. Anybody can really cut grass, but you have to have a design eye to know what really has to be worked on,” said Joe Ferraro.

Ferraro has long had the right eye for landscaping.

“I love the beautification process, making residents happy. I mean, this is their home,” he explained.

So, when he moved to Savannah four years ago, “recognizing there was a 10-month growing season in Savannah I decided to start a landscaping business.”

But finding consistent workers was proving to be an issue, that is, until he came across the Old Savannah City Mission.

“I needed workers and they needed an opportunity to kind of restart their lives, so, it was natural.”

Ferraro began employing residents at the mission.

“I think everyone deserves a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th chance.”

Residents like Leslie Bamforth.

Leslie, or Les, has been working with Joe for about six months now.

“Les is a very kindhearted individual, he’s a hard worker,” said Ferraro.

But just a few months ago, Joe started to notice something was wrong.

“And then one day he just started crying on a property and said he couldn’t see.”

Les had cataracts.

“I couldn’t see anything. A mist, a fog and that’s it,” explains Les.

For Les’ safety, Joe was forced to lay him off, which didn’t sit well with either of them.

So, Joe took action.

“I reached out to a couple of eye surgeons in Savannah.”

One responded, willing to do the surgery to repair his sight, free of charge.

“From being not able to see anything to being able to see the world, put it that way. It’s fantastic, it’s a miracle,” said Les.

Les, is now back doing what he loves.

“It means I can work. I’m not one to sit about, I like to be moving and everything else.”

While Joe knows the importance of having a good eye when it comes to landscaping, it would seem true success may not be something you can see, but rather, something you feel.

“Joe is a fantastic person and I don’t know where I’d be without him. That’s about it, I can’t thank him enough,” Les says.