By Diane Rockall
Wanda Outwater advises young women and men to follow their dream and stick to their paths. She says you may not end up where you thought you were going, but you will succeed if you follow your dream and save for your future along the way.
Wanda began life in Pleasant Lake where her father, a World War 11 veteran, supervised Reno Farm. She is the daughter of Denver and Zona (nee Lefountain) Greene and attended Northwest Jackson Schools. After graduation she went to Jackson Community College, where she studied to be a conservation officer. She opted to join the Department of Natural Resources and stay nearer to home.
Wanda met her husband Brian while in college. She worked part time at Munith Market and the two met through a friend of Brians’ who at that time was working in construction. Some time later the couple married. They both had two girls, so immediately became a family of six. They lost one daughter recently. In addition to their daughters they have nine grandchildren and still counting. Wanda considers her family her greatest accomplishment.
The business began quite by accident. Shortly after their marriage Brian thought they would need a cord of wood for the winter and suggested they cut it themselves. He approached Willie Stephens about clearing dead wood from his property. Willie said “sure you can have all you want.”
Shortly thereafter Clarence Brewer of Whitmore Lake asked them to get him 100 cords of wood. Wanda thought they should simply say no, but Brian thought of it as an opportunity to make some extra money to help their young family. The decision was a major life-changing move. Ultimately they both quit their full time jobs to create B & W Tree Service, Inc.
Wanda fondly remembers two highlights occurring when the business was about ten years old. The first was a job to trim a tricentennial tree on property off Mt. Hope. The tree had been recognized as a place the first European settlers coming into the area used as a locator guide to the stagecoach stop at that site.
The second memory happened at almost the same time. It was a job clearing dead wood from a cemetery in Green Oak Township. The township supervisor suggested having local boy scouts help with debris pick up in order to receive merit badges. To keep the boys busy but away from the limbs, Wanda asked if they could also clear an overgrown area near the fence. When they began clearing they found several graves that were unknown to the cemetery owners. One grave belonged to a forgotten veteran who was recognized by the community after the discovery. The story was covered by many area news outlets being B&Ws” second news coverage of the year.
Wanda talked about the importance of her family and her business to her life. Her only regret was that being in business took so much of her time. She felt she didn’t have has as much time as she would have liked to spend with her family. In the end, her family was her major accomplishment and her greatest joy.