When Fred Davis, North Webster, bought the property at 7509 N. SR 15, all he was looking for was a place for storage. Within the past year, though, his lot of land has become a support for wounded soldiers around the country.
Leesburg Pumpkin Patch began its venture with a simple goal: to help. Growing up with a very giving mother, Davis learned that it was important to give to people who needed it. While mowing his lawn one day, he realized that he could use all the extra land he’d bought to do just that. He decided that he wanted to donate all of his proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Now, normally, the Wounded Warrior Project does one-time events such as bike races or festivals. A season-long pumpkin patch was new to them, and Leesburg Pumpkin Patch is the first of its kind.
According to the Wounded Warrior Project’s website, in total, over 48,000 service men and women have been injured in recent wars, such as Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terror. Davis’ son is an active officer in the Marine Corps. According to the website, many who are hurt are between the ages of 18 and 25.
“When they’re hurt, they’re hurt at such a young age,” Davis said. He described how families of soldiers are affected and how difficult it is to return an injured service person’s life back to normal.
The emblem for the Wounded Warrior Project is of a man, carrying another man. “Everyone was carried at some point in their lives and it’s kind of our job to carry them now,” he explained.
Originally, all pumpkins were offered for only a donation. But with the overwhelming response, Davis has changed the deal: one pumpkin per customer, per donation. Multiple pumpkins may be bought aside from the donation. All profits go directly to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Just how much has been made thus far, Davis isn’t sure. “To be honest, I’m scared to death to add up what we’ve made so far,” he laughed. Davis believes it will jinx further sales and donations. “I’m hoping for a couple thousand bucks.”
According to his sales, that number is quickly approaching.
Of the 1,200 or so pumpkins that were grown, Davis has sold probably about 800 of them since he opened on Sept. 15, and says he’s having a hard time keeping up with sales.
He sells seven varieties of pumpkins including Blue Moon, Warty, Jack Be Little and Sweet Pie. He believes that 90 percent of his crop are basic Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins. “I learned a lot about the growth of that plant,” Davis said.
Leesburg Pumpkin Patch is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.