RALEIGH, N.C. – Many military families face numerous challenges when a spouse or family member is serving overseas on active duty. Maintaining lawns and landscapes becomes even harder while also managing kids, pets and jobs.
That’s why Project EverGreen, a non-profit educational alliance of green industry associations, companies and volunteers, created GreenCare for Troops, a nationwide outreach program coordinating with participating landscaping company volunteers to provide free lawn care for local military families in need. Since its inception in 2006 and through this year, GreenCare for Troops has registered over 11,000 military families, connecting them to over 4,000 professional lawn care company volunteers nationwide.
In North Carolina, Project EverGreen has partnered since 2010 with Turftenders Landscaping Services in Raleigh, a contractor volunteer whose employees donate their time and skills to support numerous military families at no cost. In 2012, in its third year, Turftenders conservatively estimates its free lawn care donations average five to nine military families annually (depending on troop returns), totaling over 20 military families served to date.
Turftenders’ crews also cover considerable distances, ranging from FT. Bragg and Fayetteville to Triangle area communities, including Holly Springs, Raeford and Durham. In 2012, multiple military families residing in the Fayetteville and Raeford localities are currently receiving pro bono lawn maintenance.
Project EverGreen has assisted Turftenders’ efforts by coordinating with Bayer Environmental Science in Research Triangle Park, who donated an equipment trailer customized by Turftenders for use in its dedicated GreenCare for Troops, military lawn care donations. In addition, Project EverGreen helped secure lawn maintenance equipment loaned for Turftenders’ GreenCare for Troops activities, including Toro and Walker mowers, and leaf blowers, edges and trimmers from Husqvarna in Charlotte.
Beyond enhancing and improving the environment, donating professional lawn care services to military families is an important part of Turftenders' mission.
“This is a heartfelt project to build long term relationships for us here at Turftenders,” said Steve Hill, president. “It’s these long term relationships that encourage us to give back to our community and is one small way we will continue to give back to troops, who are risking their lives to keep us secure, as well as to their families in difficult times,” Hill said. “We volunteer and contribute not only to Project Evergreen, but also to Renewal and Remembrance Day each year at Arlington Cemetery,” Hill added.
While Military family names and locations served are undisclosed for security reasons, comments from needy recipients to Turftenders reflect deep appreciation for their donated lawn care services. One military recipient of the free maintenance stated: “Thank you very much for helping my wife. I know it is tough on her when I am gone, but every little bit helps. Again, thanks to you and your team for helping my family during this deployment. We are extremely thankful for what you guys have done for us.”
Another family reported: “Amazing job they are doing on my yard. Words will never express how grateful I am to you for all of your hard work! Thank you so much and God Bless!” Turftenders feels that feedback like this from military families is itself the greatest reward.
Project EverGreen is a non-profit educational foundation of allied green industry associations, companies and professional volunteers, dedicated to educating the public about the environmental, economic and lifestyle benefits of healthy yards landscapes, parks, recreation and sports fields.