EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — When the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut wanted to add to its pollinator garden, staffers decided to add mosaics made by Annette Montoya and Mary Ballichino.
Montoya, a Navy veteran, and her business partner, Ballichino, donated the eye-popping pieces, and in return, they got help from the organization Work Vessels for Vets to start her own business “Pieceful Connections.”
The landscape design company focuses on cognitive gardens for children as well as veterans experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
getting started was expensive, but that’s where Work Vessels for Vets came in.
“You have to buy a whole pallet of things you may not need for just these huge ones and that’s putting up to $600 a pallet or more and you’re talking a lot of money,” said Montoya.
Work Vessels for Vets helped the pair get a very generous donation from Riverhead Building Supply to get the business started. The company donated a truckload of landscape pavers for Montoya’s mosaics.
“Our only mission is to give equipment to injured veterans who are starting a business,” said Cathy Cook, Executive Director of Work Vessels for Vets.
“[We] couldn’t be happier to help out a local veteran,” said Mike Parzych of Riverhead Building Supply.
“It’s amazing for us,” said Montoya. “It helps us start our business. Because we’re starting from scratch.”
The donation all came about because Montoya came into Riverhead Building Supply a few months ago and asked if they had any extra pavers or other material that could be donated.
In the end, a total of 16 pallets weighing 36,000 pounds were donated.
Riverhead no longer needed the discontinued pavers but did need Work Vessels for Vets so it could donate them through the nonprofit.
“They’re amazing what they do for the veterans,” said Montoya.