“I was absolutely blown away. I expected them to come in with a leaf blower, and they had a whole team there with big equipment and did an amazing job. Everything was clean and mulched, and they even planted flowers!”
U.S. Army Spouse
Father’s Day came a little early for the Carpenter family, but the gift they received this spring from Greener Horizon Landscape was just in time.
The Carpenters are not your typical military family. Teenage sweethearts Trevor and Justine Carpenter were well on the way to establishing a family on the outskirts of Boston when, with two young children in the fold, Trevor took the plunge and joined the National Guard.
Justine explains: “We felt like it was something that God kept laying on our hearts. It was something we had considered for years, and a door that just wasn’t shutting. For us, it was paying back the country we love with service. This was our way of giving back.”
The year was 2019, and the recruiter’s commitment disclosure of one weekend a month and two weeks a year would change rapidly in a rapidly changing world. “We never expected him to deploy, but things took a different turn,” she says.
Trevor’s unit was activated several times for riots, COVID related service, and the Inauguration in Washington, DC. Then came news of his deployment last year to the Middle East.
“When it snowballed, I was pregnant with our third child. We really got thrown into the wildfire!” says Justine.
She was able to manage through most of the time alone with the support of the community and fellow military families. And it was through one of these family connections that Justine came across GreenCare for Troops.
“I was at the home of a family that I had met through another military foundation, and I noticed that they had a crew of guys at the house cleaning up the yard,” says Justine. “They told me it was GreenCare for Troops and about how the program works, and I decided to give it a look.”
Justine went to the website to find our volunteer organization. “They provided a lot of options for service, and I saw a check box for spring cleanup. I knew Trevor was going to be coming home in May, and I thought it would be fantastic if that could be done before he gets home so he doesn’t have to worry about it.”
The company she was matched with was Greener Horizon Landscape Management & Construction in Middleboro, Massachusetts. Each spring, the company holds a volunteer day of service, and accepts requests from military families for spring cleanups that come in through GreenCare for Troops. Greener Horizon co-owner Bart Poulin discovered the program at the organization’s tradeshow booth in Louisville.
The company had 30 volunteers lined up to work that day, so they were well equipped to handle the Carpenter family’s request.
“We made connection with Justine and went out and met with her on the property,” says Poulin. “With her husband on active duty and her with three kids, the property needed some help.
“She was very surprised with all the work that was included in the service,” he continued. “It worked out pretty well that we could get it done and take this off his shoulders.”
From Justine’s perspective, the entire process was beyond her expectations, and came with a couple of surprises. First, her husband ended up arriving a few weeks early.
“I called Bart and asked him if that was ok, and he said ‘of course!’ Then as the workday approached, we were able to schedule family time away and I asked if they could still do the work with us not home,” says Justine. “He assured us if we had someone, they could contact in our absence that we could go.”
While on their vacation, Justine could use their security cameras to watch the work being done. What she saw was an army of 10 guys cranking through the work, which was completed in about three hours’ time.
“I was absolutely blown away,” says Justine. “I expected them to come in with a leaf blower, and they had a whole team there with big equipment and did an amazing job. Everything was clean and mulched, and they even planted flowers!”
For his part, Greener Horizon’s Poulin is grateful for the service and sacrifice of military families in his area and is pleased to give something back.
“I was never in the military, but I always respected it,” he says. “My father was not in active service but served in the military for 4 years, and I was born at West Point, so a part of me always felt a connection. Being able to give back to the men and women who are overseas by doing this work is why I like to do it.”
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 and Heritage Landscape Supply Group. 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