Category: Volunteer Projects
Mr. Melendez is a mechanic in the National Guard with one previous deployment to Kuwait. Recently, another deployment has taken him to the Middle East leaving behind his wife and five children.
The Melendez family registered with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops to receive free lawn services, through volunteers, with a primary breadwinner deployed in the Armed Forces. Austin Outdoor Landscaping stepped up to assist on a much larger scale.
The Home Depot Foundation did not hesitate to answer the call for assistance and team up with Austin Outdoor Landscaping (a Yellowstone Landscape Group) in Davenport, FL, on April 6, 2012. The Home Depot Foundation generously donated materials and volunteers for an outside project to create a needed relaxation and enjoyment area for our military family.
While Austin Outdoor was completing several days of landscape design and installation of a fresh green space make-over, the Team Depot volunteers, Lindsey and Ken, were planning the perfect areas for a gliding bench swing, gardening storage shed, and outstanding playground equipment for the five Melendez children to enjoy right in their own back yard!
The Austin Outdoor group was extremely grateful to have Team Depot volunteers, Ken Smith and Lindsey Schmitz available for the planning and assembling of the storage shed, the gliding bench swing, and the most time consuming of all, the assembling of the children’s playground equipment. Ken and Lindsey were truly invaluable and led the rest of the volunteers who had never assembled any type of playground equipment! They were patient, kind, and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this project for a very deserving family. One of the photographs Lindsey took at the start of the planning and assembling, Ken Smith is smiling and giving the “thumbs up” that all is good!
Austin Outdoor Landscaping, Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops, and The Home Depot Foundation, would like to thank the volunteers who participated. They changed the life of this military family by giving a gift of support that they will always remember.Read more
Cheryl Beyer’s husband has been in Iraq serving his country since February 2009. It wasn’t until this summer that Cheryl discovered just how much work Dale did around the house, including the landscape maintenance. Cheryl tried to keep up with the maintenance of the house and the children, but the landscaping was too much. As a military wife, she was familiar with a similar GreenCare For Troops project completed for Major Aaron Filter’s home in Janesville in 2008 that K & W Greenery undertook.
After receiving word that there was another military family seeking landscape assistance, WGIF Executive Director Brian Swingle met with Mrs. Beyer and walked the property. After taking note of the maintenance needs, Brian sent an e-mail alert to WGIF members listing the work that needed to be done on the property, including some tree removal and trimming work.
First on the scene was Andy Kurth of Weedman Lawncare in Middleton and Beloit, to treat a malnourished and weedy lawn. While performing the work, Andy and Cheryl were interviewed by the local newspaper and were mentioned on the local WCLO morning radio show with Stan Milam. The Janesville Gazette also gave the efforts of local landscape professionals a “thumbs up” in their weekly Opinion page.
Local Janesville area arborists from L.P. Tree Service & The D.W.G., members of the Wisconsin Arborist Association, removed an Austrian pine and pruned ash, birch, crabapples, and maples at the residence. David Graham and Dean Zuck of the DWG Co., and L.P. Tree Service’s Cory Gritzmacher, Chris & Jon Ranum, Garrik Harwick, Steve Lear and Ty Buschemi all contributed to the project.
Following the large and tall tree work, Erin Mauer of Lied’s Nursery and Landscape of Sussex made the drive all the way from Sussex, Wisconsin to meet with Mrs. Beyer and plan the rest of the work to be performed.
“Rob (Lied) said, ‘do what needs to be done’ when I told him about the opportunity,” explained Erin.
Shortly thereafter, Lied’s personnel including foreman James (Jimmy) Maruska, crewmembers Frank Mantanona and Garrett Dieball, and supervisors Joel Hollrith and Gary Gray handled a long list of work, including installing a new mailbox and post to replace the existing one which was rotting off its base. The crew also pruned shrubs in beds around house, removed dead shrubs, cut back perennials, removed excessive weed barrier around plant crowns, sprayed weeds in beds, cleaned accessible first story gutters, cleaned yard of debris and leaf litter, top dressed beds (front and side yards) with stone mulch, removed debris and weed barrier in mailbox bed and restored area to turf (sod), and placed a fall color potted planting at the front entrance.
After the work was completed in October, Mrs. Beyer told WGIF, “I have been in touch with my husband and have sent him some pictures. We are truly grateful for all the help. Words can’t express it all. The kids have stated the yard looks bigger. They are very happy and thankful too. Thank you. ”Read more
On Saturday May 22, 2010 the Northwestern Ohio chapter of the GCSAA participated in the GreenCare for Troops Program by assisting the families of 2 deployed service personnel.
Several members of the association along with crew members from Stone Ridge Golf Club volunteered to perform multiple duties around each home. At the home of the Johns work included general cleanup, edging of the sidewalks and curbs, tilling and planting of a vegetable garden, mowing, cleaning of the deck, cleaning of the flower beds and cleaning of the driveway. In addition to the work Reynolds Turf donated a new John Deere mower to the Johns.
At the home of the Norrils work included general cleanup, tree trimming, landscape bed design and installation and walkway preparation. Materials for this project were generously donated by Clean Wood Recycling, North Branch Nursery, Uni-Lock and USA Lawns and Landscape.
On behalf of the Association we would like to thank the following people and companies who volunteered or donated their services and/or products to this great project: Dan Salois, Tim Glorioso, Brian Heydinger, Bruce Dodenhoff, Jim Hemrick, Bill Locke, Don Earnhart, Don Lawrence, Shawn Golz, Tim Suter, Colin Suter, Trevor Newby, Ben Henning, Randy Wade, Mike Bibler, Brandon Oney, Clean Wood Recycling for donating the mulch, North Branch Nursery for donating the nursery stock, Reynolds Turf for donating the mower, Uni-Lock for donating the retention wall and walkway pavers, USA Lawn and Landscape for installing the retention wall and walkway.
While the soldier was home for R&R, we contacted his wife to let her know that a landscaper had offered to make the yard transformation. It was all she could do to keep from exploding, since the new yard was to be a surprise.
Unfortunately, the economy hit the landscaper hard as the months passed, and they were unable to follow through with their commitment. We thought the surprise was a goner until, only two days after knowing we needed help, we received an e-mail from a professional who asked how he and his company could get involved with GreenCare for Troops in their area. Their area happened to be near our military family, and we knew just how they could become involved with our soldier’s wish.
While our professional was rounding up volunteers, we were contacted by the soldier’s wife with some sobering news: Her husband had been in an ambush in Afghanistan. He had been transported to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he was recovering from gunfire wounds.
During his recovery time, the soldier’s wife informed him that his wish was going to come true. He was thrilled and couldn’t wait to see photographs of the process and then go home to his green grass.
Sadly, our soldier took a turn for the worse and passed away. But before he died, his wife whispered in his ear, “Your wish is coming true. The grass will be there.” The soldier raised his eyebrows and nodded…one of our country’s strong heroes.
The landscaping project took place on Saturday, October 24, 2009. The military family’s yard was filled with volunteers. All materials needed for the project were donated by green industry suppliers. In awe of their new yard, the soldier’s sons stood with their mother and said, “This is incredible. This type of thing happens to everyone else, but not us.”
The volunteers who made a wish come true for fallen hero Sgt. Kenneth Westbrook are:
* Adjutant General Thomas Belcher
* The Blue Water Veterans Association
* John Rossie and Chaplain RC Lewis
* Metropolitan Homes, Inc.
* Rob Kuck
* Mike Premer
* Melodee Gerlach
* Tony Fanzo
* Pat Cartwright and Christine Hickey
* Green Belt Turf Farm
* Craig Giesbrecht
* Pioneer Sand & Gravel
* Mike Osborne
* CPS Distributors
* Dennis Kimsey
* Metco Landscape
* Mark Tomko
* Jake Hardin and crew
* Valley Crest Landscape
* James West
* Javier Mora
* Kurt and Emily Siekmeier
* Bubba Bolen
* Greg Krause
* Darrell Sargent.
On an early chilly morning in Indianapolis, IN during the 2008 National FFA Convention, 16 FFA students along with their high school principal and GreenCare for Troops leader were bussed to a military family’s home to assist with fall yard work.
This community service project was filled with mowing, mulching, cutting back gardens, bagging debris, lots of leaf blowing & raking, hot chocolate, coffee, smiles, and great conversation. These students should be very proud of their hard work that morning where they lifted a burden of lawn care from a deployed soldier’s family. It was so much appreciated !
The FFA participants were: Charlie Willis, Leah Holden, Rachael Harless, Justin Phenis, Kristill Jones, Aaron Wheeler, Austin Boyd, Alicia Neal, Jesse Warren, Adam Thompson, Stacy Marie Hagerman, Brittany Hanson, Kaleb Meredith, Miranda Chapman, Sarah Grizzell, and Katlynn Chambless.
Major Aaron Filter, Wisconsin National Guard, didn’t get the chance to finish landscaping the front of the house he, his wife Kristi and their three children share when he was deployed overseas to Afghanistan. Chris Williams, owner of K & W Greenery in Janesville, Wisconsin deployed his own landscape design and installation crew to finish the job.
“Those with us who have somebody deployed do need a little help once in a while,” said Kristi. In the spring, the family planned to landscape the area after putting in a new sidewalk and having to remove a solitary mature maple tree in the front yard leaving them without any shade in front of the house. “I think it’s awesome and beautiful.
K & W and the others who donated plants and materials are just so wonderful and generous,” she continued. When Kristi e-mailed the photos of the completed project to her husband overseas, “His comment was, ‘What a blessing,’” She said.
K & W Greenery is s member of the Wisconsin Green Industry Federation (WGIF), an organization of seven Wisconsin trade associations representing the nursery, landscape, greenhouse, garden center, and Christmas tree producers and service providers. In addition to K & W Greenery, WGIF members Beaver Creek Nursery donated plants and Carlin Sales/ProGreen Plus donated fertilizer, and landscape fabric. The Federation, whose mission is to promote the “green” industry, is also an affiliated organization of a national project called GreenCare for Troops.
The donated supplies and labor totaled between $3,000 and $4,000. K & W’s Williams indicated to his local newspaper the Janesville Gazette, “I though it would be a nice thing to do. “Help somebody out that needed some help.” WGIF Executive Director who coordinated the project indicated that these industry professionals understand the sacrifices that the soldiers and families of soldiers undergo when family members are deployed overseas. When our folks heard about landscape project barely started and left unfinished, they just wanted to “Git r’ done, as the saying goes, and the Filter family loves them for it.”
The broad, patriotic appeal of Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops program is winning wide public approval as it works to link lawn and landscape professionals with families whose major breadwinner is on active duty in the Middle East.
In fact, when Connie Krier of suburban Seattle heard about GreenCare for Troops, she knew it had been designed to help families just like hers. Her husband had been away for over a year in Iraq, she’d been forced to go to work full-time to support their two small children, and their lawn and landscape projects were put on indefinite hold.
Connie registered to participate – but she hadn’t dreamed what would happen next. As part of communicating the goals of GreenCare for Troops, Project EverGreen contacted Seattle radio station KBSG. As a result, their popular morning “Fastlane” talk show picked the Krier family as their GreenCare for Troops “poster child” and began to spread the word.
Fast forward to June 27, when this effort resulted in a small army of volunteers and a host of donated materials descending on the Krier home. Spring Green of Puyallup, WA lined up arborist and landscaper Jamie Bratten to supervise the project, which included extensive green space renovation with lawn care, trimming, plantings and, as a bonus, construction of a new patio.
As a result, Army Reservist Cameron Krier will find a bright, fresh landscape when he returns home from a stressful tour as an IED specialist in Iraq.
According to Den Gardner, executive director of Project EverGreen, “The publicity efforts of KBSG helped make this a real showcase for GreenCare for Troops. Going forward, we will continue to work with local and national media to underline the value of this effort and encourage broader participation from lawn and landscape professionals. Those interested in referrals from service families who have applied for help are encouraged to contact us.”
The ARC group lifted huge burdens for our military family by completing some outdoor projects for them within a very short period of time.
These projects will not be faced by their soldier when he returns home from serving us in the Armed Forces. Tracey and her family are so appreciative of this group’s hard work in fixing the back yard fence and some front yard landscaping. Everyone working that day was blessed with nice weather!