JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Deployment can be an extremely stressful and emotional time for family members left behind to carry on.
Project Evergreen, which started in 2006, is helping military families with something most of us wouldn’t think of: lawn-care.
Trey DeLoach of Madison Garden Center Landscapes is one of 6,000 volunteers around the nation who is dedicating his time for others.
DeLoach and his team were matched with a Madison family to provide free landscape services. That included yard maintenance, mulching flower beds, trimming shrubs and mowing the lawn. He has been volunteering for about three years, but this is the first family he has been matched with.
“This past year, they reached out and said they had a family and they don’t give us the family’s information. They give our information to the family and they reached out and contacted me, the Malley family," said DeLoach. "And we spent the summer mowing their yard, trimming shrubs, putting out pine straw... That kind of work, you know, at no charge to them.”
Nicole Malley’s husband, Carlos Malley, is one of the 4,000 members of the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Tupelo. He was deployed in December 2017 through September of this year.
“There are so many things that go on back home that we take for granted, and that still need to be done. The service member needs to be able to focus on their mission and not be concerned about the nuances and the things that are at home,” said Nicole. “So as the family members, we want to try to make life as easy as we can for them so that they don’t worry about those small things. But it is, you know, a lot that takes place that you have to handle.”
DeLoach and his partner Nick Thompson say it is an honor to take part in Project EverGreen.
“He was here, his crew was here every other Friday like clockwork. It was something that I didn’t even have to think or worry about," said Nicole.
Nicole says the military offers many services and they are grateful, but what DeLoach and his team did for her family will never be forgotten.
“To see that there is local community that cares enough about service members and the military members that are out there fighting for our country, yes it really touched my heart. Especially my husband’s," she explained. "We were just overwhelmed and so grateful that somebody would come, and just love on us, and take care of our family.”
Eleven-thousand military families have signed up for the service.
In Mississippi, DeLoach is one of 13 registered volunteers, and 11 military families are involved so far. Four of the 11 are currently matched with a volunteer and receiving services, but the others are still waiting. DeLoach told us how his business got involved.
“Saw an ad in one of the trade magazines asking for volunteers for people in the green industry, and I just signed up and volunteered," he explained.
Nicole says she can never repay DeLoach and the other volunteers for how they helped her family.
“It really does mean the world to that family, and to that service member knowing that their family is being supported and taken care of," she said.
“We just cut some grass and trimmed some bushes. I mean, he was in harms way protecting our country. So, I’m like, that’s the least I can do is help out and take care of some of their needs here,” said DeLoach.
GreenCare for Troops is a nationwide program. Volunteers and military families can learn more about how to register or volunteer here.