“The GreenCare/SnowCare for Troops programs have been a tremendous help. Working a 12-hour shift and coming home to a shoveled driveway … the benefit is immeasurable. For someone who is already struggling with being pregnant with a husband that is overseas and not having family around, service like this is wonderful.”
This was not the way things were supposed to work out for Sabrina Andrade and her husband.
The betrothed U.S. Army reservists were set to deploy to the Middle East together for ten months beginning last October. But an unexpected third party put a damper on the couple’s plans.
“We found out about two weeks before I was supposed to ship out that we were pregnant,” Sabrina recalls, adding that it took a good while to sink in. “I was in denial for a bit, I am not going to lie. My husband was convinced I was pregnant before I took the test, but I kept saying no right up until the results came in.” Ready or not, Sabrina would be staying behind.
The abrupt change in plans did not leave much time to prepare for the winter ahead, so the first snowstorm to hit the Andrade home in central Massachusetts was an unwelcome surprise. Sabrina recalled a pre-deployment presentation she had heard – someone representing Project EverGreen’s GreenCare/SnowCare for Troops programs who talked about a system for providing military families with snow removal and yard care and she reached out.
“It was a really quick and easy process,” says Sabrina. “I just had to upload some paperwork proving my husband was deployed, and the program manager handled the rest. Ki Matsko has been amazing, helping us with whatever we need.”
Stepping Up to Help Military Families
The volunteer providing the service to the Andrade home is Greenscape Land Design, which services clients from three offices in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Hampshire. The corporate office made a company-wide commitment to GreenCare/SnowCare for Troops last year, and Branch Manager Steve Conley was the first to step up.
“Once we got the green light, we took on as much as we could,” says Greenscape Land Design’s Conley. “We started mid-season last year, so we did some one-off services for families through the summer and fall before we received our first regular snow removal service with the Andrade family.”
The Andrade’s property presented a difficult challenge for Greenscape Land Design right off the bat.
“Our driveway is horrendous,” says Sabrina. “It sits on a hill, and it is part gravel and part paved. But the snow removal people were fantastic. When it was clear that they could not get a plow in, they shoveled it by hand.”
Conley says the goal is to provide the military families with the same elevated level of service they deliver to all clients, so they take into consideration all extenuating circumstances. Sabrina’s pregnancy and her civilian work as an EMT meant keeping the driveway clear even when the snow threshold of three inches was not reached to ensure Sabrina was able to enter and exit her home.
“It has been a tremendous help,” says Sabrina. “Working a 12-hour shift and coming home to a shoveled driveway … the benefit is immeasurable. For someone who is already struggling with being pregnant with a husband that is overseas and not having family around, service like this is wonderful.”
Passing It Forward
Now that the weather has broken, the service has turned to mowing and yard care. “They are doing a great job on my lawn, and they even did the gutters for me which is super sweet,” says Sabrina. “The people who volunteer their time, to be honest I don’t know if they understand how truly grateful we are.”
Sabrina was so impressed with her GreenCare for Troops experience that she referred another military family on to the program – the spouse of the soldier who took Sabrina’s place in the deployment. “She is in the program, and it has been a huge help for them too.”
For his part, Conley is pleased to be able to help families in need.
“I know what a struggle it can be to find good contractors, so when we have an opportunity to help somebody and ensure their loved ones are taken care of when they are away, we want to step up,” he says. “Our people enjoy it too … there is appreciation on all sides.”
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