Program allows local landscapers to volunteer to help military families

VIRGINIA BEACH — When a family member serving in the military is deployed it can create a variety of hardships and challenges – both big and small – for those who are left behind.

Being in a region with a large military presence, one of the ways local lawncare and landscaping businesses are helping is by volunteering their services through a program called GreenCare for Troops.

The program is a nationwide outreach that is sponsored by Cleveland, Ohio-based Project EverGreen. It matches lawn care and landscaping professionals-turned-volunteers with eligible families, providing free lawn care and landscaping services during the length of the deployment.

Ricardo Melgoza of Melgoza Lawn Care is one of the local lawn care volunteers and he is currently providing services to three local families. Recently Melgoza had a chance encounter with another GreenCare for Troops volunteer.

As a way to promote his participation in the program Melgoza placed a large GreenCare for Troops decal on his work trailer. One day he noticed someone taking photos of his trailer and didn’t know why. Come to find out the photo-taker was Aaron Pope of Aaron’s Lawn Care and also a volunteer in the GreenCare for Troops program.

Ricardo Melgoza of Melgoza Lawn Care, left, and Aaron Pope of Aaron's Lawn Care, right, pose recently in front of Melgoza's work trailer. Both take part in the GreenCare for Troops program (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Project EverGreen)
Ricardo Melgoza of Melgoza Lawn Care, left, and Aaron Pope of Aaron’s Lawn Care, right, pose recently in front of Melgoza’s work trailer. Both take part in the GreenCare for Troops program (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Project EverGreen)

“I thought it was a very cool gesture,” Melgoza said, who also got a “thank you” from Pope. “We never thought we would get a thank you, but it’s nice when you receive one.”

Melgoza also uses the decal as a conversation starter with other landscapers and promoting the program to them.

Information for both landscapers and families who are interested in GreenCare for Troops can be found online.

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