It’s that special time of year to celebrate the fathers in our lives and thank them for their love and sacrifice. At Grade-A Tree Care in Martin City, Father’s Day has an extra-special meaning for owner Phil Giordano and his son, Nick, because of the extraordinary sacrifices they’ve made for each other.
“My dad gave up everything for me,” said Nick. “Father’s Day is a special time because it’s a reminder of everything we’ve been through together.”
Phil and his wife, Jeannie, have four children: Felicia (42), Kenny (41), Jennifer (38) and Nick (32). However, Nick was the one who grew up wanting to be just like Phil, who worked for a utility company as a tree trimmer when Nick was little.
“One day I was watching him out the window, and he came inside and asked if I would help him set out cones around the truck,” said Nick. “From that moment on, I was hooked. I wanted to dress like him, talk like him, and go to work every day with him.”
According to Phil, they started spending so much time together, their relationship grew beyond what most fathers and sons typically experience.
“We bonded over everything. I taught him how to fish and he helped me learn how to use computers,” Phil chuckled. “He was always in my back pocket and wanted to be a part of everything I did.”
There’s another reason the two are close: Nick was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a debilitating lung condition requiring ongoing breathing treatments and medications that have powerful side effects. Phil knew it would be challenging for Nick to find a job or get health insurance so in 1997, he started his own tree trimming company, Grade-A Tree Care, to give Nick more opportunities.
“It means everything to me that my dad started this company. I’m now able to work and do things I couldn’t have otherwise dreamed,” said Nick.
In high school, Nick worked for the business during the summer months and was soon leading crews of workers twice his age. However, in 2014, Nick’s lungs were failing and he desperately needed a double lung transplant. Typically, patients are on the transplant list for three months. Nick waited for 14.
“It was tough to watch his health go from bad to worse,” said Phil. “He fought so hard, and it really brought our family closer together.”
In September 2016, Nick was finally the recipient of a double lung transplant. In less than two years, his lungs were performing at 100% capacity and he was ready to go back to work. For safety reasons, his role at the company changed after the transplant so he now manages day-to-day business operations. Nick said he’s been busy putting systems and processes in place so the business will run more efficiently.
“I do miss working in the field but I also enjoy this new role behind-the-scenes making sure everything flows correctly,” said Nick.
So many of us in Martin City have enjoyed watching Nick (and Phil!) grow and learn together at Grade-A Tree Care. Nick was accepted into the 2017/2018 South Kansas City Leadership program through the South Kansas City Chamber and said it’s been exciting to go behind the scenes and learn about all the different industries we have in Kansas City.
“Everything means more to me now,” said Nick. “I know I’m lucky to be alive, and I’m lucky to have Phil as my dad.”
Phil said he’s grateful to have Nick by his side every single day.
“It’s incredible to think about what he’s been through, and I admire everything he’s accomplished,” said Phil. “My hope is to one day turn the company over to him, and I have no doubt he will do an outstanding job stepping into the role.”
Nick said he treasures every moment he gets to work alongside his dad.
“It’s hard to explain to people the kind of relationship we have, and running this business together makes it even more special,” said Nick. “I will never be able to thank him enough for all he’s done for me.”
We’re so proud of all you’ve accomplished, Phil and Nick Giordano! We’re lucky to have Grade A Tree Care in Martin City and look forward to many more years of working with your family. To learn more about Grade-A Tree Care, please visit their website, or join their community on Facebook.