PELLA, Iowa — At a recent Make-A-Wish Day celebration held at the Vermeer Wisconsin facility in Madison, Edgar Contreras was presented with the tools of the trade he needs to turn his dream of owning and operating his own landscaping company into a reality. Contreras is a 19-year-old from Milwaukee who is battling thyroid cancer.
Orchestrated by Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, Contreras received a new Vermeer RTX250 pedestrian trencher, as well as a trailer to haul it with, an extended service package, an update to his truck’s towing package, a generator, PPE and a variety of hand tools. Donations were made by Vermeer Wisconsin, Vermeer Corporation and KS Energy Services Inc.
While presenting Contreras with his new tools of the trade, Chris Brouwers with KS Energy and Bear Reynolds with Vermeer Wisconsin expressed their commitment to helping Contreras on this career path by offering operator training, business development consulting and help navigating the many challenges of starting a company.
“Everyone at KS Energy and the Klumb family supports Make-A-Wish Wisconsin and the organization’s efforts to fulfill dreams of children and their families,” said Brouwers. “This unique wish is near and dear to our hearts. Edgar is a wonderful person who has risen to the challenges life has put in his way, and we’re confident he will be successful in the landscaping industry.”
According to the director of marketing and communications for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, Forrest Doolen, the dream of starting a business is one Contreras shared with their team during his cancer treatment, but given the nature of his request, it took some time to grant. “When Edgar said he wanted a trencher, we reached out to KS Energy, who in turn looped in the team at Vermeer Wisconsin and Vermeer Corporation,” he explained. “The three organizations worked together to make sure they were providing more than just a piece of equipment — but also giving him the tools he needs to establish a business and support along the way.”
Growing up helping his father install irrigation systems is what spurred Contreras’ dream of owning his own landscaping business. After much discussion with his family, he determined that owning a trencher would be the best way to get started.
After turning over the keys of the Vermeer trencher to Contreras, Reynolds assured him that the team at Vermeer Wisconsin and Contreras’ business would have a relationship for many years to come. He went on to tell Contreras that everyone at their dealership will be there to help him along the way. “Everything from helping with the normal business things like service, parts and training support, to being a sounding board for business-related decisions, or just mentorship along the way, we’ll be here,” he said.
Make-A-Wish Wisconsin is currently working to make sure more than 450 children receive their wishes through donors’ generosity. For more information about how to get involved, visit wish.org to donate or find a local chapter.