NOLANVILLE — While Marily Considine explored New York City with her two children this week, the outside of her home in Nolanville transformed into a “dream backyard.”
NBC’s “Today” show approached Heart of Texas Landscaping and Irrigation in Belton with the idea of a Mother’s Day surprise for Considine, whose husband, Maj. John Considine, deployed to Afghanistan in April with III Corps.
The business provided all the labor and materials for the yard makeover at no cost with the help of about 10 vendors who donated materials, said Ben Pamplin, president of Heart of Texas.
Marily Considine and her two children, Johnily and Ryan, only get to talk to John Considine about 15 minutes a day.
“That 15 minutes I am on the phone with him is the only time I breathe during the day because I know he is OK,” Marily Considine said during Sunday’s episode of the “Today Show.” “The other 23 hours and 45 minutes of a day, I am holding my breath because I am scared.”
In addition to deployments, Marily Considne was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in September 2010.
Considine, a volunteer for Fort Hood USO and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, is in remission.
“It was very traumatic. At first it was devastating to see your body that way,” she said. “But it’s been two years, so I’ve kind of gotten used to the scars.”
The marks on her chest are an empowering reminder of surviving cancer and an experience she hopes she can use to inspire others.
Producers at the “Today” show heard Considine’s story and wanted to honor the military wife during a Mother’s Day episode.
The Considines’ backyard was badly damaged in a fire nearly five years ago. The couple’s family members spent the past two weeks working with landscapers to design a “dream backyard,” featuring a limestone waterfall, firepit and patio, as well as a butterfly garden, numerous trees and flowers and an outdoor kitchen and dining area, Pamplin said.
His landscaping crew began tearing the yard apart Wednesday evening after Considine and her children left for the airport. That was followed by a 17-hour workday Thursday. And, since Friday’s heavy rains put the landscaping crew behind schedule, they woke up at 6 a.m. Saturday and worked throughout the evening to make sure the yard was complete before Considine’s surprise.
While it was a difficult feat for the landscaping crew and support staff, which logged about 1,500 man-hours in less than three days, Pamplin said, their motivation was seeing the Considines faces when they saw their new backyard.
“It took a whole lot of labor to get done, but we knew what we were getting into,” Pamplin said. “It’s just a great story. It really tugged on our heartstrings to help out.”
The business plans on taking care of Considine’s yard until her husband returns from Afghanistan.
“We want the yard to be nice when he comes home too so he gets to see it the way we left it (and) he can enjoy it,” Pamplin said.
During the live reveal, Considine and her children were surprised and in tears when the “Today” show broadcast their home, which was filled with family and friends greeting them from their new backyard.
During the show, John Considine sent his wife a Mother’s Day greeting via Skype.
“I just want to make sure that you know that you are absolutely amazing; a wonderful wife and mother and every day we’re together I love you more and more,” said John Considine, from Afghanistan. “Johnily and Ryan, give mom extra hugs and kisses for me today.”