“I’m excited to plow, and if I can help out someone who’s deployed, I’d happy to help. After being deployed and living abroad, I know what it feels like to have someone help out back on the home front. I’m more than happy to step up and help someone in a similar situation.”
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
The Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan is known for its beauty and independent spirit, but it is also home to a significant concentration of armed forces veterans. It is also known for the prodigious amounts of snow that blanket the area each winter.
Support for all disabled individuals in the region is available through state-based programs like SAIL, the Superior Alliance for Independent Living. But U.S. Army veteran Sgt. Michael Ryan wanted to get involved in programs that provided more targeted assistance to military families and other veterans like the way he was helped after his service came to a difficult end.
That desire to make a difference and give back led Ryan to volunteer for Project EverGreen’s SnowCare for Troops program.
“When I got out of the Army I had a really hard time,” says Ryan, who was medically retired from active duty after six years. While stationed in Germany with the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, Ryan was twice deployed to Iraq with his unit. He drove trucks for the Army, and during his second tour his truck was hit by an IED explosion that ended up leaving him with several long-term disabilities.
“I have headaches all the time, neck and back injuries, and PTSD that I’ve learned to deal with,” says Ryan.
What helped Ryan following his discharge was the support he encountered living in Connecticut and when he moved to the Upper Peninsula, he inserted himself into the veteran community immediately. What he discovered was that there weren’t a lot of resources available for veterans in need of assistance. So, he helped to start one.
Called U.P. Vets Served, the SAIL-affiliated program creates opportunities for veterans and military families to socialize and engage with each other, and identify resources, like SnowCare for Troops that can be of assistance during challenging times like a deployment. The programs promote camaraderie, allowing individuals to discuss events only veterans can understand and identify barriers only they face.
“We organize events such as bringing vets to hockey games, bowling, camping, bike rides, and more,” says Ryan. “The people here are very independent and resilient, but the work and services we provide are appreciated.”
A self-described snow nut, Ryan acquired a snowplow for his truck to plow driveways for himself and family members, and he registered to be SnowCare for Troops volunteer so he can connect with and help military families in need.
“I’m excited to plow, and if I can help out someone who’s deployed, I’d happy to help,” he says. “After being deployed and living abroad, I know what it feels like to have someone help out back on the home front. I’m more than happy to step up and help someone in a similar situation.”
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