Three organizations in need of help with grass maintenance got a helping hand from Exmark and the Toro Foundation Wednesday when the company awarded a trio of free mowers.

Organizations that received a Lazer Z S-series mower included the Odell American Cemetery Association, Beatrice Community Hospital Foundation and the Blue Springs Cemetery Association.

Rick Olson, Exmark general manager, said the annual donation of three mowers is a continued example of the company’s tradition of giving back to the community.

“We have the opportunity to do some product donations so we collect applications and have an internal team that goes through and prioritizes those,” Olson said. “It’s a part of our company mission to support the community and beautify the outdoors. It’s really part of our culture. Giving is who we are in a lot of different ways, whether it’s donating or volunteering.”

The donation was a moving one for Carl Lytle, Odell Cemetery Association president.

Lytle described the challenges something as simple as mowing can pose on a group like the Cemetery Association.

“I just was speechless; I couldn’t believe that we won,” Lytle said. “It’s a terrific gift to us. We were quite financially embarrassed and were spending over $2,000 a year to have the cemetery mowed, and now we’ll have our board members and volunteers mow it with this wonderful mower.

“Our assets were going downhill so fast without having much income, this will really be great for us.”

Rich Hovendick spoke at the presentation of the three red mowers about what the donation means to the Beatrice Community Hospital Foundation and BCH’s new facility north of town.

“When we started the capital campaign to enhance the patients’ use of our hospital we thought many different things we could do,” Hovendick said. “We heard about the grant opportunity and did it on behalf of the hospital. We have many acres now to mow that this machine will greatly enhance that.”

Each mower donated was valued at $10,599.

Gale Hardin, president of the Blue Springs Cemetery Association, said the donation came not a day too soon, after a fire claimed their previous mower.

“Last fall out at the cemetery our lawnmower caught fire, so this really works out well for us because we’ve been without a lawn mower since then,” Hardin said. “This really fits the ticket for our cemetery.

“A lot of people give us comments on how our cemetery looks. They say it’s such a beautiful cemetery and we really take a lot of pride in it.”