“My grandfather fought in World War II, my father served in Vietnam, and I have a brother serving in the Army. “I can’t serve, but this is one way I can do my part and help those that did.”
Operation Green Lawn
Three years ago, Bill Landis sold his lawn care company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to make a fresh start in the industry. His new business, Operation Green Lawn, is still focused on lawn pest control and fertilizing. But beyond providing excellent service, the company is on a mission to provide employment opportunities for American military veterans returning to civilian life.
It can be a difficult road back from the trenches, something Landis has come to understand well. He doesn’t rely on veterans walking through the door for jobs – he works locally with the Veterans Court in Lancaster to promote the opportunity he provides and to recruit employees.
“The court system has a program for veterans to help them out and get them back on their feet,” says Landis. Often, these are veterans that Landis says might have gotten in a little trouble or are just down on their luck.
Landis also works with Lancaster’s Transitional Living Center and its Supportive Services for Veterans, which provides a place to live for income-challenged veteran families who are working toward moving into permanent housing.
“We often hire from here for sales, usually part-time or nighttime, so they can work with us while looking for full-time employment,” says Landis. “Some of them continue and stay with us full time as well.”
So, why is this such an important cause for Landis? While he himself is unable to serve, military blood runs deep in his family.
“My grandfather fought in World War II, my father served in Vietnam, and I have a brother serving in the Army,” he explains. “I can’t serve, but this is one way I can do my part and help those that did.”
Over the course of three seasons, 20 individuals have worked for Operation Green Lawn, including one who moved on to start his own non-competitive landscape company. “He also hires veterans,” says Landis.
One veteran hire that worked his way up from part-time telephone sales to essentially running the office is Alex Pugh.
“He went from needing work to what really is a nice career,” says Landis. “He’s still in the Army and needs to return for training, so we’re really flexible and work with their obligations.”
“I have gotten to do every position in the company from the ground up, and it has been a great experience seeing this company take root and start to grow,” says Pugh. He’s also the one who discovered the GreenCare For Troops program and brought it into Operation Green Lawn.
“We have two families that we’re matched with currently,” says Pugh “We’ve contacted them and set them up on schedule. Both are deployed Air Force National Guard families, and both are scheduled to come home at the same time, but we’ll be able to service their lawns for an entire year.”
The program is a match made in heaven for Operation Green Lawn.
“As a veteran-focused operation, every one of us knows – we’ve all had the experience of someone being away from home and the transition that creates – it is stressful if left unattended,” says Landis. “Lawn care is one of those things that they can be assured that they won’t have to worry about. We will take care of it.”
Are you ready to step up and become a volunteer for a military family? Register today at https://projectevergreen.org/about-the-program-volunteers/
The Title Sponsor of the GreenCare for Troops program is Nufarm. Platinum Partners include Toro and SiteOne Landscape Supply. The Gold Partner is Arborjet/Ecologel and the Silver Partner is the Propane Education and Research Council