Navy Veteran and Minnesota Volunteer Rises to the Challenge to Help Military Families
Volunteers are the heart and soul of our program. They give tirelessly to share the gift of green yards and landscapes to military families in need.
““I want to give back to my brothers and sisters who are serving. It’s one less thing the family members need to deal with, and it’s not easy for them especially with young children in the house. It takes a big burden off their shoulders.”
Grounds Guys of Woodbury, Minnesota
Before he embarked on a full-time career in landscape maintenance and construction in 2008, William Krammer served in the Navy for two years right out of high school.
At the time, he was leaving his aging parents alone to manage the household chores and was aware that his departure was placing a burden on them. It’s something he always remembered, and played a part in his decision to volunteer with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops
His ownership of the Grounds Guys of Woodbury, Minnesota has enabled him to make a solid living in the Twin Cities doing something he loves. But it also allows him to continue serving his country by helping military families deal with the weight of a deployed family member through his work as a volunteer.
Dedicated to the Cause
Krammer has been with the program since 2012 and from the beginning he was all in, volunteering to take care of as many families as he could manage.
“I average five or six families that I serve at the same time,” said Krammer. “As deployments change families will come and go, so in an average year I could be working with anywhere from 10 to 18 families. It’s constantly changing.”
Krammer estimates that he and his team have worked with upwards of 200 military families tending to landscape care and snow removal over the past nine years.
Managing this effort while operating the business takes communication and coordination with families to stay on top of what they need, and to ensure he can help the greatest number of families.
“On the first call I find out how long the deployment is likely to last so I know what services I will be providing, and when I will be able to add a new family,” said Krammer.
And the need is great — the proximity of Ft. Snelling in the heart of the Twin Cities provides a steady stream of military families seeking help in the throes of a deployment.
“I want to give back to my brothers and sisters who are serving,” said Krammer. “It’s one less thing the family members need to deal with, and it’s not easy for them especially with young children in the house. It takes a big burden off their shoulders.”
The Family Impact
One current recipient of Krammer’s service is the Carlson family. Natalie Carlson is taking care of four young children, all under eight years of age, while her husband is amid a nine-month deployment with the Air National Guard that started in June.
Carlson learned about the program from information her husband brought home from work in preparation for his departure.
“It was an overwhelming feeling to know that there is a program like this to help military families,” said Carlson. “There is so much to do with four kids and school and so many obligations, and the possibility of having one thing taken off my plat was a huge relief.”
The Carlson family said the GreenCare for Troops program has been a blessing for their family.
Carlson reached out to GreenCare for Troops where Project Manager Nici Trem put her in contact with Krammer.
“The support we get in this area has been terrific, and the GreenCare for Troops program has been a blessing for us,” said Carlson. “It really took a lot of pressure off me to maintain the yard with everything else I have to do. It gives me a chance to focus on the kids and know that one thing has been taken off my plate. I’ve been overwhelmed with the kindness of the whole program.”
Beyond the work itself, Carlson said that in her husband’s absence the sense of community that those who help military families create is of incredible value to her.
“Knowing that there are others out there who we can depend on creates that sense of community, and that is very important to me,” added Carlson. “I hope this story will bring more professionals and military families into the GreenCare for Troops program., The help they provide is really amazing.”
Krammer agreed, “We really need more professionals volunteering for GreenCare For Troops. We shouldn’t have to have any families on a waiting list.”