Scottsdale salutes landscaping volunteer Ron Roth

Scottsdale volunteer Ron Roth (submitted photo)

Scottsdale volunteer Ron Roth (submitted photo)

Scottsdale resident and veteran Ron Roth goes above and beyond what “lending a helping hand” means and can only be considered an excellent neighbor.

Mr. Roth, 70, is a true outdoors man. He was raised on a farm where he developed an impeccable work ethic. This trait his father taught him on the farm as a young boy has carried him through life, and he eventually joined the Navy.

From 1965-69 Mr. Roth served in Vietnam, where he worked on a search and rescue destroyer-class ship. The ship had a landing pad for helicopters that would retrieve airplane pilots who were shot-down.

Mr. Roth evolved from the Navy to working in a career of mediation — working as a union negotiator and in union relations. He retired in June 2014.

Shortly after, Mr. Roth signed up to be a volunteer with Scottsdale’s Operation Fix-It, a program that lends tools and labor to residents who are in need, and to maintain 10 miles of road in the Adopt-a-Road program.

“My interest was being outside, and to do landscaping,” Mr. Roth said during a Sept. 29 phone interview. “I’m an outdoors person, an old farm boy. We didn’t know as kids growing up what resting was. My dad would always tell us that if you’re standing around that means something isn’t getting done.”

Mr. Roth did his first road cleaning in July of 2014. Originally he signed up to take care of seven miles of road for the Adopt-a-Road program; he has recently added three more miles.

“I walked all seven miles — both sides of the road,” said Mr. Roth. “From that point on I ride my bicycle, and I got a trailer and hook-up for the bicycle.”

He does the route every month, he said. His roads include areas around Scottsdale Road near Happy Valley, Hayden, Jomax, Pima, and Dixileta roads. He has also voluntarily started cleaning up the bike lanes on these roads.

“It’ll be interesting to see if I can do all 10 miles in one day, but probably not,” said Mr. Roth.

In the beginning of September Mr. Roth celebrated cleaning up a total of 60 homes in the Operation Fix-It program.

“The first time I did it I went in blind, and you don’t know what you’re getting into until you get to the house and see what’s going on,” said Mr. Roth. “I didn’t have the right equipment.”

Now, Mr. Roth shows up to a job with his own heavy-duty equipment.

The program will tell the worker if the house is within any neighborhood or city violations, and usually that is what is expected to be cleaned up or fixed.

“The first couple of homes I did, I just went and corrected what was against the violation,” said Mr. Roth. “Now, I talk to the home owner and I let them know that I’m available, and I’ll be there on such and such a date.”

“When I get there to do the actual work, I will do everything that yard needs. I’ll do everything.”

Mr. Roth’s longest project took five days to clean the front and back yards. He even needed to order a dumpster to dispose of all of the dead landscaping.

“I want the house to look like it’s my house. I want that homeowner to walk up to their drive-up and say ‘this looks nice,’” said Mr. Roth. “That’s what I like about my house.”

The volunteer has started to make a name for himself, and has requests for his services.

“I’ve done the same house about eight times,” said Mr. Roth. “She is an older lady so she has a hard time getting around. She always requests me.”

Mr. Roth and his family moved to Scottsdale in 1998. He now has two grandchildren, ages 6 and 11, who attend school in the city.

Being available for his grandchildren is also a priority of Mr. Roth’s because his son works as a caterer at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, which can be odd hours sometimes, he says.

“I like the Fix-It program and the road program because I can control my time and the hours,” said Mr. Roth. “My priority is the kids and I work around them.”

To become a volunteer in the city of Scottsdale visit www.scottsdaleAZ.gov/volunteer.

To nominate a volunteer for Scottsdale Salutes, e-mail Melissa Fittro at Mfittro@newszap.com.

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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