In honor of the brave men and women who served our country, a water well driller recently donated services toward the maintenance one of their final resting places. Craig Williams, owner of Shohola, Pa.-based Williams Well Drilling, installed an irrigation well for New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery Inc. in Sparta, N.J., just in time for its 100th burial.
“This well will be a great asset to the cemetery as we can now water new plantings,” says Theodore Andrews, a member of the cemetery’s board of directors. “We lost several trees that were planted last fall due to the lack of watering.”
The two-day drilling job was completed Aug. 18. Using a 1983 Driltech D25 rig, Williams and his two sons drilled a 160-foot well using the air rotary hammer method. “It was 15 feet to the bedrock. So we put 15 feet of 10-inch casing in. Then we drilled our casing hole 50 feet with the 8-inch hammer. Then we set 50 feet of 6-inch casing, cemented that solid and then drilled a 6-inch hole to 160 feet the next day,” Williams explains.
A licensed driller in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, this was his first cemetery job and second New Jersey job since becoming licensed to drill in the state in July. He would do it again in a second if the need arose and is thankful for the opportunity. He shared how the job came to be and why he did it during an interview with National Driller.
Q. How did you learn about the need for this well?
A. They were calling different drillers on estimates for wells and when I found out it was a veterans cemetery, I decided right then and there I wasn’t going to charge them for the well. I only charged them for the materials we used. Our labor and the drilling we donated. Anything that has to do with the veterans and anything like that, I try to donate as much as I possibly can. My son, though he hasn’t graduated high school yet, is already signed up to go into the Marine Reserves. He’s 17 years old. So as soon as my son graduates high school, he’s off to the Marines. So veterans mean a lot to me.
Q. When did you decide to get involved and why?
A. They called my New Jersey salesman and my New Jersey salesman asked what I was doing, and I said, “Yeah. We’ll donate the drilling.” He called them back and told them what I said, and they said, “Yeah. Get the permits and come on down.” … That was in, like, January.
Q. What does this water well support and what value does it bring to the cemetery?
A. It’s an irrigation well. It’s going to be re-designated at a later time when they build a building. … I would say it brings quite a bit [of value]. They went from zero water on the property and now they have a producing well they can use to water the grass and do whatever they need to do. I can’t really put a monetary value on it because some things are just priceless. For them I would think that the water would be near priceless because they’ve got so many more options now.
Q. How does it feel to have done this for the veterans’ cemetery?
A. It feels good. It wasn’t a huge expense on my side and they covered all of the materials. It was just the labor and the fuel to drill the hole. It feels good to get thank you. A meaningful thank you is worth it to me. … It feels good. They’re going to put a small plaque up for us as a thank you. They got us in the newspaper. The word is getting out and actually I’m going to make more money with the publicity than what that well cost me. The fact that I went in and donated the well, a lot of people are seeing that and I’m getting calls left and right for new wells to be drilled because they saw us in the newspaper.
Q. How important is it for drillers to give back using their expertise?
A. I think it’s very important, but I’m a firm believer in give to those who deserve it. … I believe in those who gave to us, we should give back.
Q. What are your hopes for the performance of the water well and what it brings to the cemetery?
A. It produces 15 gpm, so that’s plenty for them to run garden hoses and sprinklers. It’s only 160 feet deep. It’s not very deep. It produces plenty of water for what they’re going to be doing. They can do just about anything they need to do at the cemetery with it.
Q. What would you say to a driller who has never given back in this way before and is thinking about it?
A. If you can afford it and you get an organization like the veterans’ cemetery or something that has already given to the community, if you can afford to do it, do it. Don’t put yourself out on a limb, but if you can afford to do it, do it.
Q. What kind of feedback have you received?
A. They’re gracious. Everybody was thankful. They had a funeral on Friday and we had to shut down for the funeral. So we shut down for an hour so they could perform the funeral. Everybody that was there came and shook my hand as a thank you, people I didn’t even know. They were very, very gracious.