There was a customized landscape and patio area in the middle of the Bryce Jordan Center floor on Saturday.
It included a gazebo, fire pit and bar area under an awning, and patio table and chairs, and more, and was admired by hundreds of guests who walked through the domain.
It was the centerpiece to the 31st annual Central Pennsylvania Home and Garden Show, which started Friday and lasts through Sunday. The show aims to conveniently bring local home improvement services to the community.
A similar custom patio will be installed at Army veteran Corey Mills’ Tyrone home this spring or summer by professional contractors and students from Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology.
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Abbie Jensen, executive officer of the Builders Association of Central Pennsylvania, said Mills received a “surprise phone call” on Saturday morning from members of the Builders Association, which sponsors the show.
He was the winner of the patio through EP Henry’s Heroscape Program.
“The one here would cost somewhere between $70,000 and $80,000,” said EP Henry sales representative Rob Daniels. “We’ll do a design at his home customized to fit his property.”
Daniels said the company started the program three years ago as a way to give back to those who serve the country.
“It’s just a corporate initiative we like to do,” Daniels said. “We’re an American-based company that’s been around for 113 years, and recognize the importance of community outreach and giving back.”
Daniels said it first started as “spruce up projects” for military organizations and families, which got bigger each time.
Last year, a patio was built at the American Legion post in Ferguson Township.
From the program last year, two students walked away with jobs, Jensen said.
“It’s a team effort that that really defines what this community is about,” Jensen said.
Veterans are nominated for the program by someone or a group of people who submits a 150-word essay on why that person deserves the custom patio. The nominee must also own their home and be a part of the design process.
Jensen said Mills — who served in two tours in Iraq — was nominated by 11 people.
Mills will be in attendance on Sunday to officially accept the prize.
This year’s home show includes 124 vendors, educational seminars, children’s building contest, live music and a home show treasure hunt.
Last year, the event attracted about 4,500 people — up by 15 percent from the previous year, Jensen said.
She added that on Friday, attendance was up by 24 percent from last year.
“There’s something for everyone,” Jensen said. “It’s the perfect time of year where winter’s ending and people are itching to get out and think about their new home projects, and we have everything people are looking for.”