(WWTI) — This time last year, parts of New York State were buried in snow by the historic Thanksgiving blizzard. Now, military families in the north country are terrified of what’s to come this season.
Lake effect snow will soon hit the north country while thousands of Fort Drum soldiers will remain deployed in the Middle East. This leaves spouses back home preparing for extreme winter weather alone.
“Their number one concern right now is snow removal. We have a lot of brand new spouses in the area, brand new spouses to deployments. A lot of them are young. A lot of them have never seen snow. A lot of them have little kids. The stress of missing their loved one, the stress of taking over all the household duties, and now we have a stress of they wake up and, you know, there’s four feet in their driveway,” said Laura Wence, with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, and a spouse herself.
Wence’s husband is commanding the unit overseas. She understands and is helping lead Project Evergreen, a program that matches snow removal volunteers to military families.
“That volunteer will take care of that family for the duration of the deployment, which is nice. So now that family knows that whenever there’s a storm coming, they don’t have to stress and worry about like, all right, I have two babies. How am I going to get out? I can’t leave my babies in the house,” said Wence.
But they need volunteers now.
“So right now we have 42 families and it keeps growing. We have about 30 of them are actually on Fort Drum, but we also have another 12 that are in Watertown and Black River of Calcium in Carthage.
These volunteers can be anyone, whether it’s a local snow removal company or a neighbor with a shovel. The more hands, the better, so these spouses don’t have to face winter alone
Wence explained, “If they can sponsor, volunteer for just one family, I mean, that’s a huge thing. I just think this is another way for the people to show those new spouses to the army that, hey, people care about them. And the north country is, is one of those places where we care about them.”
Interested volunteers can reach out to Laura Wence at email@example.com.