“I would like to see a lot more businesses and individuals donate a little bit of time to help these people – it is really a small token of appreciation for the immense sacrifices they make.”
GreenCare for Troops Volunteer
Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
Billl Barthen knows joining the Army National Guard is a uniquely challenging choice for both the soldier and family.
“It can be very taxing, especially in the Guard and Reserve where most of us also have a regular job while doing the military part-time,” says Barthen, a long time GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops volunteer.
Barthen himself serves a full-time role in the Wisconsin Army National Guard, where he oversees the work of 180 Guardsmen on ground logistics for National Guard organizations across the state.
“We’ve been called upon for so many recent events, from providing security in Washington DC to the border in Arizona and Texas … far more than our nation’s wars,” says Barthen, who is also watching Wisconsin’s efforts to procure the Republican National Convention. “We can never be sure when we might get a request for support, and that can be really hard on some families.”
It is the reason Barthen has been involved in Project EverGreen’s GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops for a decade now. Most recently, he mowed and shoveled for the Schmidt family, a case in point for an unexpected and heartbreaking deployment.
“Honestly, it was completely off the radar that he would ever be deployed,” Lisa Schmidt, who lives with her husband and two children in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. “When he got hand-picked for the assignment, my oldest daughter was just over 2, and I was 8 and a half months pregnant. It completely changed our trajectory from welcoming our second baby to now preparing me for single parenting. Three months later he was gone, and I was left to raise a 2-year-old and a newborn on my own for 10 months.”
With so little time to prepare for the separation, Lisa plunged onto the internet in search of ideas, services, and help.
“I randomly found Project EverGreen and the GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops program online and signed up,” she says. It took a couple of weeks to nail down a match, but when they did it was smooth sailing from there.
“It was a complete burden off my shoulders just not having that on my radar, knowing that Bill would do the work and I didn’t have to think about starting up my lawn mower,” she continues. “I could focus on spending time with my two kids, prioritize them and know it is taken care of. Especially in the winter months with snow plowing, knowing that I will have to get my car out of the driveway to get to daycare and to work, and I will come back home, and it will be all cleaned off. All I can say is it was a complete relief, and I was so incredibly thankful to have his service.”
For his part, Barthen says his purpose is to “create peace by providing service to others, and this is one small way of me reaching out and offering support to a family that has a deployed service member. I would like to see a lot more businesses and individuals donate a little bit of time to help these people – it is really a small token of appreciation for the immense sacrifices they make.”
Why are Green Spaces Important to Military Families?
Parks, lawns, landscapes and maintained green spaces help to mitigate temperature increases in communities and significantly reduce energy use and cooling costs. Project EverGreen’s initiatives – GreenCare for Troops and GreenCare for Communities – have made a significant impact.
Through its nationwide base of professional volunteers, Project EverGreen has connected people, plants and their communities to maximize the health of grass, plants and trees, which in turn sequesters carbon and cleans the air. Both initiatives support healthy green spaces in neighborhoods and cities, enabling maintained green spaces to function as the lungs of the city and offsetting the negative effects of a warming environment.
A single group or individual cannot transform lawns, landscapes and parks but Project EverGreen’s coalition of businesses and individuals helps maintain green spaces so they can thrive.
Become A Volunteer Today
Are you ready to step up for a military family? Register today
The Title Sponsor of the GreenCare for Troops program Title Sponsor is Nufarm. SnowCare for Troops program in BOSS Snowplow. Platinum Partners include Toro, SiteOne Landscape Supply, AMGUARD Environmental Sciences. The Silver Partner is Arborjet/Ecologel.
Affiliate Partners include the Connecticut Grounds Keepers Association and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.
GreenCare for Troops is endorsed by the National Association of Landscape Professionals