“They are doing a great job on my lawn, and they even did the gutters for me which is super sweet. The people who volunteer their time, to be honest I don’t know if they understand how truly grateful we are.”
GreenCare for Troops Family
Giving healthy green spaces and sustained support to those who give all to our country. For the past 18 years, that’s the simple message that both GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops volunteers have shared repeatedly about their experiences providing military families with mowing, lawn care, and snow removal services free of charge.
An initiative developed and managed by Project EverGreen, GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops coordinates the connection between military families facing a life-changing deployment of a family member and local professional volunteers who have pledged to provide service for as long as the deployment lasts.
“We have created a reputable program for lawn and landscape companies to share their knowledge and skills in a meaningful way in support of deployed military families,” says Ki Matsko, program manager for GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops. “Many professional lawn, landscape and snow removal contractors have military members as close friends or in their own family and are drawn to help, but don’t know how to make that happen. By facilitating that connection, we are providing military families with a volunteer who has professional knowledge of proper lawn and landscape care and knows the importance of healthy green spaces.”
The clear value and benefit of the program to lawn and landscape volunteers over the years is demonstrated in its sustained support. About one third of the program’s currently active volunteers have been with the program for more than eight years.
And the results of their efforts generated an impressive level of support for military families across the country. GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops volunteers provided an average of nearly 700 services in 2023, with an average duration of service of nine months per household. Deployments can last anywhere from three to 15 months.
The GCFT program provides a platform for lawn and landscape professionals to give back to their community using their time and talents to provide well-maintained lawns and yards to deployed military families during a stressful time.
Healthy green spaces provide families with numerous benefits including physical and mental health as well as environmental benefits such as a cooler, safer place to play and relax.
Through its nationwide base of professional volunteers, GreenCare for Troops connects people, plants and their communities to maximize the health of grass, plants and trees, which in turn sequesters carbon and cleans the air. The program supports 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.
The program also actively supported the extraordinary efforts of local businesses and organizations across the country in 2023. In Minnesota, the eighth annual Band Blitz for the Military fundraising event brought military families, volunteers, and attendees together for a great night of music, food, and fun to benefit the GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops program.
In eastern Pennsylvania, volunteer Tom Knopsnyder of Green Lawn Fertilizing lent key support to the renovation of Green Lawn Cemetery, the final resting place for 200 veterans, which had fallen into substantial disrepair.
But it’s the gratitude of the military families, and the gratification felt by volunteers providing this valued service, that sustains the program year after year. A case in point is the Schmidt family of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, who received lawn care and snow removal services from volunteer Bill Barthen while the husband was on a deployment.
“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,” says Lisa Schmidt, who cared for her two children alone while her husband was overseas. “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.”
Barthen, a decade-long volunteer, 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.”
Jodie Arreguin, a Columbus, Ohio area military wife and program participant in 2023, shared her feelings about the service she received during her husband’s deployment.
“ExperiGreen was super excited to help us, and amazing to work with. The clover is cleaned up and the yard looks great. It is so nice to pull into the yard and see things in order, even if some days I feel like things are falling apart.”
Service recipient Sabrina Andrade was so impressed with her GreenCare for Troops experience that she referred another military family to the program.
“They are doing a great job on my lawn, and they even did the gutters for me which is super sweet,” she continued. “The people who volunteer their time, to be honest I don’t know if they understand how truly grateful we are.”
Volunteer Steve Conley of Greenscape Land Design, who provided the service to Andrade’s property, said he knows 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.”
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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