As Dan Bauer drives through Covington in his red truck with the Arbor Equity Inc. logo on the side, children sometimes yell at their parents as the vehicle passes, exclaiming, "There goes coach Dan."
That's the influence he has had over some of the soccer players on the Covington Y teams he coaches, and has coached every season for the last seven years.
Bauer has also influenced the county itself, volunteering not only his time but his materials from his business to provide shade, landscape and resources to the Y's soccer facilities off of Stone Road.
"I have a strong belief in community," Bauer said.
He started coaching in the Y recreation leagues when his daughter Presley, now 11, began playing seven years ago. He volunteered as an assistant coach, and took over as a head coach four years ago.
Since then, he has coached throughout each age division Presley and his 7-year-old son Wyatt has played in.
Now not only is he a requested coach by parents who have had children on his teams, but he has also had plenty of his pupils selected for the Y's Galaxy teams.
"I enjoy it," Bauer said. "I enjoy the kids, the camaraderie with the kids and their families."
Last year, as Bauer was walking toward the soccer fields from the parking lot, he noticed the barren landscape and the blistering heat welcoming the participating families. He then set out to do something about it.
As an owner and operator of an arboriculture service company, he felt he could help by volunteering more of his time, along with trees and landscaping service.
He so far has put in seven trees, and is set to put in 13 more, along with donating five years worth of maintenance on top of the landscaping he already provides.
"Basically, the Y took the time and built a very nice soccer complex, but it was a little barren when it came to the parking lots," Bauer said. "It was almost a desert over there; some points were so hot. I said, "We need some trees.'"
Bauer has given to the community in the past, feeling it is the best way to give back.
"I believe the people in the community are my clients," Bauer said. "I tried to make it a little more welcoming when you went into the complex on Stone Road."
The trees were selected based on the soccer season with fall coloring trees and spring flower-blooming trees.
It's something he and his family can be just as proud of years from now as they are now.
"(My kids) are very proud, and they're very active as well," Bauer said. "Every time they have out of school, they work with us; especially when I have volunteer projects."
He's working on another today as he begins a project at Peeks Chapel Elementary School in Conyers, where he is installing 34 trees on its campus with help from the Making the Shade grant.
Bauer should have plenty of time to appreciate his trees as he'll spend many days walking toward the field.
He will continue to lead Covington's young soccer players as he watches them progress from year-to-year and improve in their skill sets and team work.
"I think that's one of the parts that I like the most - the progression," Bauer said. "I've heard that I have one of the more favorite teams for the Galaxy coaches to pick off of because I teach fundamentals at the rec. level. I enjoy teaching kids about the game and how to play it, and watching them improve over the seasons."
Bauer started playing soccer himself at the age of 5, and continued in the sport at Hamburg High School in Buffalo, N.Y. and at Paul Smith's College in the Adirondacks.
"I played soccer myself since I was 5-years-old and 32 years later, at 37, I still enjoy the game," Bauer said.