A Helping Hand

A Jamestown High School sophomore recently received a dose of holiday cheer thanks to Southern Tier Financial, Hospice Chautauqua County and Team Jock Shop.

After participating in JHS Garden Club, Dominic Santiago, 16, created his own business called “Dom’s Landscaping.” In order to get to and from appointments, Santiago was riding a bike. However, his bike was recently stolen, leaving him with no way to continue doing business. Yet, hope was not lost, Southern Tier Financial, Hospice Chautauqua County and Team Jock Shop worked together to help Santiago replace his bike.

According to David Switala, of Southern Tier Financial, he met Santiago while the JHS Garden Club was volunteering to help beautify Hospice Chautauqua County’s Abe Mattison Community Garden. Switala, who is co-chair of the Abe Mattison garden project, observed the students work with Megan D’Angelo, of Hospice Chautauqua County, and was inspired by Santiago’s work ethic. So, Switala decided to hire Santiago for other landscaping projects, and help him promote his landscaping business.

“He started mowing lawns, picking weeds and raking,” Switala said. “But, then it started to blossom, all from the seed of helping donate time to helping others.”

Santiago’s business quickly began to grow, and he soon had to begin adding more employees to keep up with jobs. However, one day while working on Second Street in Jamestown, he forgot to lock his bike, and it was stolen.

As Santiago’s bike was his primary mode of transportation, his business began to falter. But, when D’Angelo got wind of the issue, she contacted Randy Marsh, of Team Jock Shop, who after hearing the story, opted to acquire a replacement for Santiago.

“I told him the situation, and asked if he could donate a bike toward Dominic’s cause – Randy was gracious enough to accept,” D’Angelo said. “Bill Canby, bike shop manager, began working on the bike, which we will present to him today.”

“Dominic’s story really compelled me,” Marsh added. “We felt bad about what happened to him, so we felt good about making this contribution.”

According to Santiago, the bike, a Bontrager Trek 4500, is a step up from what he was riding before, and will be an asset to his business, he said.

“I feel like I’m on the verge of being successful,” Santiago said. “I started something that I never thought I would start, and now when I look at things I see them completely different – all because of one beginning.”

For information, call Santiago at 450-0254, email domslandscaping28@gmail.com or search for “Dom’s Landscaping” on Facebook.