“If we can help take some extra stress off of a service family, that is literally ‘the least we can do.’ These families are both humble and proud and the appreciation they show is over the top.”
Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Chris Kujawa has been a big believer in the GreenCare for Troops mission since the program’s inception. Kujawa, president of KEI Enterprises, a four-season landscape management and snow control company in Oak Creek, WI, served on the board of the organization in the early days, and KEI continues to serve local families with loved ones overseas.
“Everyone at KEI feels that participation in GreenCare for Troops is an absolute no-brainer,” says Kujawa. “When someone uses the term, ‘it’s the least we can do,’ this is a perfect example. These families are going through the deployment of a mother or father not being home for months or even years at a time. Some of these deployments are putting the service member potentially in harm’s way. That’s more than enough for a family to worry about.
“If we can help take some extra stress off of a service family,” he continues, “that is literally ‘the least we can do.’ These families are both humble and proud and the appreciation they show is over the top.”
One of their current GreenCare for Troops service recipients (name withheld for security purposes) is a wife who is managing the activities of three school-aged children during her husband’s deployment. Her husband is enlisted in the Air National Guard, and every five years is required to serve a six-month deployment wherever duty calls – this time around, it’s in the Middle East.
As the designated caretaker of the household grounds when he is at home, he is extremely grateful for KEI’s services, which includes total landscape maintenance in summer, fall cleanup, and snow removal as needed.
“What KEI is doing to help those deployed is remarkable,” he says. “It takes a huge task away from my wife and family, and they are doing a great job.”
The family also made a personal connection at KEI with Office Manager Judy Kujawa, who the husband says went “above and beyond” in customer service for them.
“We contacted KEI after I registered for GreenCare for Troops on the Project EverGreen website, and they were very helpful and sincere and took personal care for getting us on the route,” he says. “They are getting nothing for it, but it’s an enormous help to us. We are very thankful they stepped up to the plate.”
Chris Kujawa can’t say enough about good things about being able to give back, both personally and organizationally.
“It’s a good, worthy endeavor for families that deserve to be supported by all of us,” he says. “These people sacrifice time away from spouses and young children growing up, putting their own lives on hold and, in some instances, “on the line” to do the necessary work of defending our American way of life. Landscaping is our freely chosen ‘pursuit of happiness’ made possible by these people. Everything about this is inherently good and selfless.”
As for the impact on the people who work at KEI, “once we tell them about what we are doing and who it is for they are all in! It’s just such a good program, that I can’t imagine anyone NOT wanting to participate. Our people here at KEI are part of our long history of community service, so it’s nothing new that we would participate in something like this. But when it’s tied to serving military families while Mom or Dad is away – I mean, how good is that?”
Kujawa also has great praise for the program’s managers.
“Working with the people at Project Evergreen/GreenCare for Troops is great,” says Kujawa. “They are very professional, timely, and courteous. They are glad to be part of a process that helps people. They really take ownership in the process, and it shows.”
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 and SiteOne Landscape Supply. The Gold Partners are AMGUARD Environmental Sciences and 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