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Weed Man Offers a Helping Hand
Loveland, CO, franchise to provide free lawn care for a year to a selected vet.
This article originally appeared in the Coloradoan.
As a veteran of the armed forces, Loveland small-business owner Chris Rolen knows what it's like for a family to struggle when a loved one is deployed.
Rolen, who served in the Army from 1988 to 1996 and continues his service through the Reserves, knows firsthand that when a family member is called into action, it puts unwanted stress on the rest of the family as they attempt to keep life moving in the service member's absence.
"If the main bread winner is deployed out of the country or whatever, on orders from the military, the spouse is left behind," Rolen said. "Whether it be the husband or wife, they're pulled in a lot of directions, and all of a sudden they have to do 100 percent of the work."
So Rolen's company, Weed Man of Loveland, has teamed with Project Evergreen, an organization focused on preserving green spaces, to provide free lawn care for a year for a veteran through the Greencare for Troops program.
Because Rolen's Weed Man business is focused on fertilization and insect and weed control, free lawn care for a year won't be a bunch of mowing and trimming, but rather an opportunity to keep the lawn looking healthy while keeping bugs away.
"We take care of the turf itself," Rolen said.
Interested families have to apply through Project Evergreen's website, projectevergreen.com, and then are matched with a volunteer based on certain criteria.
"We have about 10,000 families registered for our program," said Cindy Code, executive director for Minnesota-based Project Evergreen. "Our volunteers want to help these military families enjoy their yards. They have so many other stresses and worries; they can at least have the serenity of a nice yard where their kids can play."
Code was unable to identify an exact number of how many families have been helped by the Greencare for Troops program in its five-year existence but noted there are more than 3,700 volunteers, with some of those volunteers assisting multiple families.
"It's hard to quantify that," she said.
Rolen's excitement builds daily as he waits to find out what family he'll be chosen to help. He feels a sense of loyalty to other service members and knows that even one set of helping hands is priceless. And, if this year goes well for his new business and his partnership with Project Evergreen, there's a chance he'll be able to extend another helping hand.
"Regrettably, I can only help one family based on my experience in the business and trying to get started, but if the community supports me and I do well, I might be able tohelp two or three families this year," he said. "Regardless, I'm going to start with one."