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National Mall Mowing Volunteer Awarded Money, Chainsaw

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The man who took it upon himself to mow the lawn on Washington’s National Mall during the government shutdown was awarded cash and a chainsaw.

Chris Cox, who took care of the mowing and other maintenance work around the monuments in the capital during the 16-day shutdown in October, was honored Wednesday at a ceremony by chainsaw manufacturer STIHL and non-profit Crowd It Forward, which has the stated goal to reward “those who deserve recognition through random acts of crowdfunding,” ABC News reported Thursday.

STIHL awarded Cox with a MS660 magnum chainsaw, a high-end model valued at more than $1,000, and Crowd It Forward presented him with $1,900.

Crowd It Forward founder Kendall Almerico said the money is meant to compensate Cox for his missed days of work, damaged equipment and parking tickets incurred while he was doing his volunteer maintenance work.

“I had to twist his arm because he did not want to do this for money,” Almerico said of convincing Cox to accept the award.

Cox, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., said he wants to use the money and his new chainsaw to continue to do work on behalf of disabled veterans.

“I’m not going to go buy new rims for my truck or a flat screen, OK? I’m going to continue to work on behalf of our veterans,” he said. “These guys deserve our respect year round.”

He said his aim is to create a non-profit organization charged with helping disabled veterans to perform home maintenance tasks including plumbing and yard work.

“I’ll be looking for an attorney to help me with that, if you know any good attorneys,” Cox said.

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