When Brian and Crystal Santin moved into their house on South Fifth Street, their backyard, in effect, was Frank Fetch Park.

A few years ago, Santin started volunteering with the German Village Garten Club, which maintains the grounds of the park on Beck Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Santin's efforts, which include going above and beyond traditional volunteer duties, has earned him the club's Volunteer of the Year accolades for 2019 from the club.

The award is presented in honor of Kathy Heinlein, a longtime club member who served many years as the organization's president. Heinlein died in September 2015.

"I wasn't expecting any of this," said Santin, 40, a vascular surgeon in private practice in Wilmington.

"It's a very humbling honor as the German Village Garten Club has so may dedicated volunteers."

Frank Fetch Park is somewhat unusual in Columbus in that the city is responsible for water and electricity bills and trash removal and volunteers pay for upkeep.

Jim Chakeres, club president, said Santin has done much for the park, from mowing grass and pulling weeds to joining the Frank Fetch Park Committee, where he organizes volunteer efforts.

Santin also has helped decorate the Christmas tree for the community's annual lighting celebration in the park.

The Santins have named their South Fifth Street House the "Urban Ranch."

"Why do you think we bought our house where we did?" Santin said. "That little pocket park offers so much."

The club is responsible for a number of projects in the community, such as maintaining the many planters along South Third Street to presenting the GartenMarkt and Jazz & Juleps events.

"We're always looking for more volunteers to be involved in all of the activities we do," Chakeres said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary