At the urging of former Arlington resident Lois Gnuse, the Storks began selling their violets at an Omaha flower and garden show.
“We'd actually have people lined up waiting to get in when the show opened,” Kent said. “They would come running for our space so they got first choice.”
They also attended national violet shows.
“We got noticed very quickly there,” Kent said. “It built demand for the new hybrids that I had.”
The Storks began shipping the small purple flowers all across the country.
“We used to carry a lot of boxes down to the Arlington Post Office during the spring and fall months,” Joyce said.
In 1989, the Storks were awarded the bronze medal by the African Violet Society, one of the most prestigious awards given for horticultural achievement.
That same year, Kent introduced a new violet called Tomahawk.
“I had been working on red violets,” Kent said. “It was a real breakthrough. It was the first red blossom on good foliage.”
“That violet quickly became one of the favorite violets in the country to grow,” Joyce said. “Kent produced more reds and they were consistently good and developed an international reputation.”
The couple traveled to Hong Kong and Russia to speak to violet growers about the plants.
The Storks also wrote a column for the African Violet Magazine. Those columns were later published as a book, which has since been translated into Russian.
But their store has kept the Storks busy and away from their violets.
“These last few years of business, I have had to spend so much time doing flowers that I haven't really had as much time with the violets,” Kent said.
That will change after their move. Kent plans to continue to grow violets in their new home in Nevada.
“The challenge of growing in a different climate and different water and all that will be a learning experience,” he said.
As they look forward to retirement, the Storks will miss their customers.
“You get really involved in the high points of their life,” Joyce said. “You know things about them that they don't always know about themselves.”
Kent will also miss judging the Washington County Fair flower show — something he's done for nearly 30 years.
“I have judged other county fairs,” he said. “They don't hold a candle to the Washington County (Fair) flower show.”
Kent explains his judging decisions to exhibitors during the show. That's why, Joyce said, Washington County has one of the best flower shows.
“The Washington County people have really grown and gotten better and better every year,” she said.
“It's been fun to watch some of the exhibitors.”
DeRonda Elliot, 72, whose father died when he stepped on a landmine during D-Day, has flowers placed on her father's grave on Omaha Beach every year.She told the paper she wanted the government to continue to act as an intermediary.The retired nurse from Durham, N.C., said: 'It’s the least, littlest thing they could still do for us. It’s like a connection with the government that our fathers died for.''I guess we feel like they’re letting us down.' A photograph of Pauline Elliott rests on top of a letter she wrote to her husband Frank on June 6,1944. She did not discover he had died that day until two months later. DeRonda Elliott, their daughter, now has flowers placed on her father's grave every year at the cemetery that overlooks Omaha Beach
Elliott continued to write her husband, Frank, weeks after he had been killed on D-Day.
Five times in June, she wrote, unaware that he had died on Omaha Beach on the first day of the World War II invasion of Nazi-occupied France.
Throughout July, she wrote the 23-year-old former Georgetown student, telling him about their home in New Castle, Pa., and their little daughter, “Dee.”
Finally, on Aug. 6, 1944, Pauline “Polly” Elliott, 24, got a telegram saying that Frank had been killed two months earlier.
Fifty years later, after DeRonda Elliott — Dee in the letters — first read her parents’ moving correspondence, she decided to take advantage of a federal program that helped her get flowers for her father’s grave in Normandy.
It was the venerable “flower fund” that the American Battle Monuments Commission had run since the 1950s to honor the tens of thousands of American war dead in overseas cemeteries.
Last month, six decades after it began, the program was terminated.
Citing the cost in work hours and the ability of people to use the Internet and phone to make arrangements, the commission said this is the final Memorial Day it will facilitate the placemen... http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/after-60-years-government-ends-service-that-put-flowers-on-gis-graves/2015/05/24/abde43a0-fe2a-11e4-805c-c3f407e5a9e9_story.html