“We want the family to feel comfortable that they don’t have to worry about the yard maintenance. We mow, we weed, and if mulch is needed, we do it. We want to alleviate the pressure and burden of having to care for the outside of the property and allow them to spend that extra time enjoying their families when the loved one is gone.”
BCLS Landscape Services
GreenCare for Troops volunteers who provide military families with lawn and landscape maintenance services often do so while having limited direct contact with individual members after the initial arrangements are made. The gratitude felt and the burden lifted from the household are understood by volunteers, even if it’s not expressed by families along the way.
Occasionally, however, a family’s demonstration of gratitude provides evidence of the appreciation of the good work that GreenCare for Troops volunteers perform. Such was the case for Steven Cohen, chief visionary officer of BCLS Landscape Services in Richmond, Virginia.
Cohen and his wife Melannie Huber-Cohen acquired BCLS in 2016. A long time green-snow industry executive, Cohen had been aware of GreenCare for Troops for some time and the acquisition spurred him and the company to get more involved in the program.
“The central Virginia area is a very military-focused – we have many bases within the region we service,” says Cohen. “In fact, we recently did a large project at Fort Lee involving military housing. It was a very rewarding project to be involved with.”
That involvement in GreenCare for Troops introduced him to the Ojibway family, which was experiencing deployment for the first time in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“We took care of their property for about a year, and when Mr. Ojibway returned, he presented us with a flag that was flown over Guantanamo Bay,” says Cohen. “Their gratitude was so heartfelt; it was really amazing.”
A year later, the family was called upon for another yet deployment, and they reached out to BCLS again for help. The company committed to another year of landscape maintenance service.
“We want the family to feel comfortable that they don’t have to worry about the yard maintenance,” says Cohen. “We mow, we weed, and if mulch is needed, we do it. We want to alleviate the pressure and burden of having to care for the outside of the property and allow them to spend that extra time enjoying their families when the loved one is gone.”
Upon the end of the deployment, the Ojibway family presented an engraved oar to BCLS Field Operations Manager Carlos Salinas in an expression of gratitude for the work performed. Receiving a gift was wonderful, but it was the service they were able to provide that offered a biggest reward for the BCLS TEAM.
“There’s a joy in helping out and giving back,” Cohen says. “It’s a small thing, but it brings real peace of mind to a family, and for me personally and our TEAM that is the biggest gift we can give.”
BCLS has taken on two additional family this season, and Steven Cohen looks forward to continued participation in GreenCare for Troops.
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
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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 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