When Project EverGreen caught up with dual GreenCare for Troops volunteer Kevin Kirkwood earlier this year, another snowstorm loomed over metro Des Moines. Kirkwood was out early on a Saturday morning with his pickup truck, tooling around the two apartment buildings he maintains downtown for Knapp Properties.
“It’s another great day spreading salt out here!” he said with the enthusiasm of someone who genuinely loves to be of service to people.
Kirkwood has spent a lifetime working with his hands. After a four-year stint in the Army, he went to work in construction, then switched to building maintenance. He also loves giving back to the community through volunteering his time and skills.
“I’m always looking for opportunities and being good at manual labor I like to stick with that kind of work,” he explained.
That said, he appreciates organizations that not only have exceptional missions, but that are well organized and make it easy to participate. He says that he gets the best of both worlds by volunteering with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops, something he’s been involved in since 2012.
“I ran into the programs on the internet,” he recalls. “Being a veteran, and with my interest in helping with manual labor – I mowed a lot of lawns when I was a kid – I thought it would be a perfect fit.”
When Kirkwood registered to be a GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops volunteer, he was immediately impressed with how organized and effective the effort was.
“They were really on top of things, they contacted me to let me know what’s going on and took care of everything,’ said Kirkwood. “Whenever I have a question or problem, I shoot them an email and it’s taken care of. It’s a great organization.”
Kirkwood says that he’s helped at least a dozen families over the years, with a goal of providing lawn and landscape care to two families every year. Beyond the initial meeting with the family, he tries to stay out of the way and provide the service without disturbing their daily routine.
“I tell them that I just want to be the ghost that comes in and does your lawn, and that I’m not looking to bother them,” he said.
That said, he will go the extra mile if asked. Kirkwood recalled that once on a lawn care service call, the wife came outside to talk to him with tears in her eyes. “She told me that the dryer vent was clogged… of course, I was happy to help her out,” he added.
While the work is personally rewarding, the bottom line is helping those who are sacrificing so much for our country.
“It is an honor and a privilege to help the families of the troops that are deployed. I think that it is every American’s responsibility to help in any way they see fit,” said Kirkwood.
Are you ready to step up for a military family? Register today at https://projectevergreen.org/about-the-program-volunteers/
The Title Sponsor of the GreenCare for Troops program is Nufarm. Platinum Partners include Toro and SiteOne Landscape Supply. The Gold Partner is Arborjet/Ecologel and the Silver Partner is the Propane Education and Research Council