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Shakin' grass: 566th IOS members finish deployed spouse's yard

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. Michael Cetin, Tech. Sgt. Stephen Miller, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Sergi, Master Sgt. Paul Stephens and Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Sheldon, all from the 566th Information Operations Squadron, pose for a picture after laying 480 rolls of sod to help Gayla Romanowsky, a deployed member's spouse. Jessie Smith (not pictured) also helped with the project. (Courtesy photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Staff Sgt. Michael Cetin, Tech. Sgt. Stephen Miller, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Sergi, Master Sgt. Paul Stephens and Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Sheldon, all from the 566th Information Operations Squadron, pose for a picture after laying 480 rolls of sod to help Gayla Romanowsky, a deployed member's spouse. Jessie Smith (not pictured) also helped with the project. (Courtesy photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Five 566th Information Operations Squadron members and a friend got down and dirty Saturday to help a deployed member's spouse.

Master Sgt. Paul, Tech. Sgts. Kenneth and Stephen, Staff Sgts. Jonathan and Micheal, and civilian Jessie Smith, labored six hours to lay sod and finish more than half of Gayla Romanowsky's 5,000 square foot backyard.

"Now my kids have a place to play," she said about the end result.

Prior to that, her yard has been unfinished since she and her husband, Staff Sgt. David Romanowsky, bought it a year and a half ago. She said Sergeant Romanowsky had plans to finish it over the summer, but he got tasked for a deployment to Iraq with only two weeks notice. He left in May.

Since then, she has been juggling a full-time job at the Aerospace Data Facility, Reserve drill weekend duty once a month and their children, five-year-old Derek and two-year-old Brooke.

"It's like I have two full-time jobs and a part-time job," Mrs. Romanowsky said.

Well past the deadline to adhere to neighborhood guidelines, Mrs. Romanowsky searched for contractors to finish the yard, a growing stress. One quoted her $8,000.

During one of her weekly conversations with Sergeant Miller, she mentioned her trouble finding a contractor. Sergeant Miller rounded up some of the people in the shop and told her they would take care of it if she bought supplies.

"(Sergeant Romanowsky's) laying it on the line over there," Sergeant Sergi said. "The least we could do to pay respects to that is to go throw down some sod at his house."

They showed up at 9 a.m., rototilled 10 yards of compost and prepped the soil.

Then they carried 480 rolls of sod from the front of the house to the back yard and laid it out.

"They were perfectionists about it," Mrs. Romanowsky said. "It looks great."

Sergeant Sergi said it was hard work. He suffered a sunburn and his forearms were really sore the next day.

But the hard work paid off. The project only ended up costing the Romanowsky's $2,000, a potential $6,000 savings.

She said Sergeant Romanowsky plans to build a deck on the remaining parts of the yard and throw a party on it to thank everyone who helped. She expressed her gratitude through restaurant gift cards.

"I can't even begin to find the words to express how grateful I am."
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