Store's volunteers build custom garden for paralyzed botanist


A home improvement store has helped bring a paralyzed Minnesota botanist closer to his plants.

In January 2012, Josh Horky, then 30, fell from a tamarack tree that he had climbed in pursuit of his hobby – collecting witch's brooms, tree mutations of dense masses of shoots that grow from a single point.

The Duluth botanist knew this particular tamarack well – he'd found his first witch's broom in its branches, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

“I was about 25 feet up and two branches failed, and down I went,” Horky told the newspaper. He broke his back and was paralyzed from the chest down.

The News Tribune profiled Horky and examined how his life had changed six months after the fall.

Now an update: Horky has been unable to garden in his backyard since the accident, so Home Depot volunteers on Thursday began building him raised garden beds that he could more easily access from a wheelchair, Northland's Newscenter reports.

"It's awesome to think that people would volunteer their time to come out and help someone they may not know, it's just a great thing," Horky told the stations.

"Team Depot" volunteer Tom Guerin said, "We get just as much out of it as volunteers – or more – than the person we're volunteering for."

Team Depot is a program that sends company volunteers into communities for service projects.

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