All it takes is one. That’s what Loren Greenough discovered when he started Journeymen. Since his initial idea to help others in his church and community, he has impacted hundreds of people.
Five years ago, Greenough had an idea. Instead of building a project car (he worked in an autobody shop full-time), he felt led to start Journeymen. He had a desire to help others and had the necessary skills to fix a variety of things. So, he bought a trailer and tools and began to do handyman services for the single mothers and elderly.
What started out as an opportunity to serve the people in Journey Church in Urbandale, Iowa, became a way to serve the larger community. Journeymen now gets regular projects from the Urbandale Community Action Network (UCAN), West Des Moines Human Services and other churches. They start on their projects every spring and go through the fall.
“We trim trees, clean up yards, paint, change storm doors, fix broken windows, clean out gutters and more,” said Greenough. “If we have the tools and the manpower to do it, we will.”
They consistently have a group of five people that help out, but the group can be larger, depending on the weekend and the project needs.
“This is a free service that we offer to our church community and the larger community around us,” explained Greenough. “Even our material and tools we need have largely been donated to us.”
Team effort required
Even though Journeymen isn’t grand in scale or size, sometimes the projects they help with are. When that happens, they seek out partnerships that fit their mission. One of their recent projects required that kind of teamwork.
“This was a really unique story, where a veteran that went to our church had a roof that needed replaced,” said Greenough. “There were holes in the roof, and the man was in the hospital.”
So, Journeymen partnered with Titan Project and Titan Roofing & Exteriors, who agreed to work on the veteran’s home. Titan Project was developed by a group of veterans that help other veterans. Titan Roofing is a roofing and siding company owned and managed by veterans. Through the three organizations, they put together a plan to repair the veteran’s roof and siding, clean his yard and trim his trees.
“Before we could fix up his house, the veteran passed away,” said Greenough. “But we decided to go through with the repairs anyway. His kids were planning on selling the house, so it was still worth it to us to help them out.”
The new roof and siding was put on shortly after that and then it was time for yard cleanup. To do it effectively, Journeymen realized that they might need some more equipment. Luckily, they had a connection to Vermeer through Kent Van Kooten, a senior training and development specialist at Vermeer.
“I’ve known Kent for seven years,” explained Greenough. “So I reached out to Kent and asked if it was possible to borrow a Vermeer brush chipper for the day, and he handled the rest.”
Brush chipper takes a journey
Vermeer, with Van Kooten’s help, was able to provide a Vermeer BC1000XL brush chipper to use for the project. Van Kooten and two other Vermeer employees, Joseph Blake and Donald Jenkins, drove the brush chipper to Des Moines, Iowa, on a Saturday morning to operate the machine.
“Whenever I get the opportunity to help a good cause and run Vermeer equipment, I’m always willing to tackle any project,” said Blake. “Vermeer is a family-oriented place, and it’s nice to be able to help other people with our machines here at Vermeer.”
“Once I heard it was a veteran-oriented project, I was ready to help,” said Jenkins. “I’m a veteran myself, and I value the opportunity to network with other veterans and see everyone come together to help out and chat about things and places we have in common.”
With the brush chipper onsite, it didn’t take long for the project to be completed. “It was about two hours of work at the most,” explained Jenkins.
“Everyone pitched right in and made it happen,” said Greenough. “We had the brush in piles and then the Vermeer team started feeding the chipper.”
That Saturday morning was truly a team effort, and one that they won’t forget.
“I can’t thank Vermeer enough,” said Greenough. “Whether you realize it or not, you changed a lot of lives on Saturday and left a big impact. Everyone there was amazed that Vermeer came from Pella and helped out.”
Van Kooten understands the impact that this had. “I hope this has opened the gate for us to be able to help out again and help out more,” he said.
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