The Power of Two: Volunteers Deliver for a New Hampshire Military Family

A Pair of GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops Came Together to Make Sure A Military Family is Covered Year-Around

Jolene and Michael Johnson of Manchester, New Hampshire, were facing a world of uncertainty and stress ahead of Michael’s Army deployment. That’s when GreenCare for Troops volunteers stepped in.

Project EverGreen - Troop

When the Johnson family needed a helping hand, a pair of New Hampshire green industry professionals stepped up to the plate to make a difference.

Jolene and Michael Johnson of Manchester, New Hampshire, were facing a world of uncertainty and stress ahead of Michael’s Army deployment in late 2018. Along with the financial struggles that are almost inevitable for military families who must trade a civilian salary for a soldier’s pay scale, Jolene had been medically discharged from the Navy and left unable to fully manage the household maintenance.

At the Yellow Ribbon Ceremony, families of deploying soldiers were provided a packet of available services, which included information about Project EverGreen’s Greencare for Troops program.

“I was unaware that such a program was available, and honestly, that was one of the biggest things I was worried about while my husband was gone,” says Jolene, who is also raising their seven-year-old son, Steve. “Snow removal and yard work were things I could not do, and because of the financial hardship we were going to be up against, this was not something I was going to be able to budget for.”

Jolene registered for the program online, and her request was quickly answered by two local companies.

Mark Aquilino, president of Outdoor Pride Landscaping in Manchester, had signed on to GreenCare for Troops in 2018 to supplement the company’s ongoing work with military families.

“We’d done this ourselves on a smaller scale, but when we saw there was a national model, we were happy to sign up,” says Aquilino. “It’s been a nice marriage of efforts.”

Outdoor Pride took on the snow removal this past winter and is maintaining the landscape this summer to cover Michael Johnson’s expected year-long deployment. And they’ll continue with snow removal through next winter if needed.

The Johnson assignment is one that many in the office are happy to take on, says Aquilino. Their large commercial crews feature too much horsepower for home landscapes, so it’s often one of the managers who gets to break away from the cubicle and do the work.

“These guys love to get out, and there’s a lot of pride for whoever gets to do it — to be able to genuinely help somebody and know you are making a difference is outstanding,” says Aquilino.

The Johnsons are also receiving an organic lawn fertilizer and pest control program courtesy of GreenCare for Troops volunteer Lawnmark Plus, Amherst, New Hampshire. Owner Tom Kelly has been committed to serving military families for several years, and when he got the call about the Johnson family, he signed them up for the premium service, says Lawnmark’s Anthony DeSantis.

“We’re really grateful to have the opportunity to give back and help out some of our local families in the military, in particular with an active deployment,” he adds.

Jolene Johnson recognizes that GreenCare for Troops is designed to help military families who are most in need of help.

“It’s the lower enlisted families that benefit the most from this program, and that’s something that those who volunteer can feel very good about,” says Jolene. “I can’t say enough about how much this service means to our family – I was really blown away by the good people out there willing to help.”

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