While They’re Cleaning Up Over There, Who’s Cleaning Up Over Here?

Yard work. Never cared for it.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a giant yard in the middle of a forest? Or maybe it’s because the chores never seemed to end? Or maybe it’s because my father embraced a pointless but unwavering commitment to landscaping and curb appeal?  Beats me. I can only tell you that my brothers and I were drafted into this eternal conflict at an early age, with what one might call a conspicuous lack of basic training.

128-copyArmed with a vast array of modern weaponry, we were sent out every weekend to confront a determined foe. Acres of grass that refused to stop growing, weeds that laid siege to the perimeter of my parent’s farmhouse, and magical trees that needed to be pruned every few hours. We were doomed to fail of course, and overwhelmed by the futility of it all, which is why I now live in a condo. So then, why did I have so much fun last month, laboring for 10 hours in the back yard of a total stranger? Mostly, because the stranger was this guy – Sgt. Peter Mavropolous.

Peter came back from Iraq a few weeks ago from his second tour, and found his property an overgrown shambles. 154The knucklehead who had agreed to maintain his modest home while he was away had140-crop flaked out, and after two years of neglect, Peter’s yard slowly morphed into a condemned lot. (Can you imagine? I mean seriously – what kind of slacker agrees to look after a soldiers property and then lets it go all to hell while his buddy is off getting shot at in a foreign land?) Happily, a group of volunteers materialized, and spent their Saturday restoring Sgt. Peter’s place back into the home it looked like when he left two years earlier.

005-cropIt was really a lot of fun. Several dozen people showed up to help. Neighbors008-crop pitched in. The Dirty Jobs crew assembled to capture the action, Barsky got to boss people around, and when we finished, Sgt. Pete got all choked-up with gratitude and appreciation. He wasn’t alone. All in all, a very rewarding day – kind of like the barn-raising scene in Witness, (without Harrison Ford or the barn.)

How do I get sucked in to these things?

Fair question. I think this one started when somebody at the network told me that Cub Cadet was interested in spending some of their marketing budget on Dirty Jobs. (Thanks Cub!) I’m always relieved when Dirty Jobs finds a new sponsor, but I worry that companies are always looking for some sort of product integration deal, which can sometimes get complicated. (Hey Mike, we need you to use our lawn mower in the sewer! Is that cool?) Happily, as we began to discuss the various ways we might work together, I learned that Cub Cadet was open to some creative ways to work together. And at some point, I learned about their involvement with a non-profit group called Green Care For Troops.

As some of you may know, I’m involved in a number of vet causes, and the more I sniffed around Green Care For Troops the more I liked what I smelled. Thousands of soldiers face a litany of problems when they’re deployed, many of which affect their families and spouses. Simple things like basic lawn care can become a real challenge, and Green Care For Troops was formed to help guys like Sgt. Pete while they’re overseas. Very cool. I also liked the fact that Cub is the major sponsor of this organization, and figured they were genuinely committed to the cause. So I met one of the big-shots at Cub and suggested that we show off their (fantastic) line of (quality) lawn care equipment while spending a day on the job with Green Care For Troops. (Am I clever or what?) Well, Cub couldn’t have been more eager. The exchange went like this.

Me:             Can we make this campaign all about Green Care For Troops?

Cub Cadet Bigshot:       I don’t see why not.

Me:             Great!  When do you want to shoot?

Cub Cadet Bigshot:       How about tomorrow?

So I put on some work boots, hopped on a plane, and joined some volunteers from Brickman Landscaping at Sgt. Pete’s house in Southern California. (See how fast things happen in Hollywood?) Ten hours later, the work was done. Now, Dirty Jobs has a new sponsor, Sgt. Pete has a new yard, and hopefully, Green Care For Troops will have some new publicity.

As for me, I’m awash in the self-satisfied glow that can only come from hard physical labor performed in the service of somebody more deserving than yours truly. If this makes you envious, don’t be. You can volunteer too, and spend a few hours with some other likeminded do-gooders who want to make a soldiers house look like a home – a Green Zone, if you will.


Seriously, as causes go, this is a good one, so please watch the video we created that day.  And if after viewing, you should find yourself compelled to express your enthusiasm with a modest purchase, might I direct your attention to a custom made, completely original, infinitely collectible Green Care/Dirt Shirt?

Some of you are no doubt familiar with The Original Hawaiian Dirt Shirt Company. (If you’re not, you may get familiar here.)  magnum-close-up greenCub Cadet and Dirt Shirts have graciously arranged to make a few custom shirts available, commemorating the events of that day. The shirts are dyed in genuine American dirt, and dutifully modeled by the only one at mikeroweWORKS with the courage to stand in the unforgiving glare of high fashion. (Please, don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.)

The front of each dirt shirt features the mrW logo. The back contains my Top Ten Reasons to support Green Care For Troops.  It took me nearly two minutes to write these down, so please, reward my creativity with a modest purchase, and wear it some place fancy.  MrW will donate a portion of the money received from the sale of each shirt to Green Care For Troops. Another portion will help keep mikeroweWORKS up and running.

Anyway, that was my day with Green Care For Troops and Cub Cadet, and this is your mission.  Watch the video, here.   Buy the shirt, here.  And better yet, volunteer your time in the yard of someone who volunteered theirs – someplace much worse.



68 thoughts on “While They’re Cleaning Up Over There, Who’s Cleaning Up Over Here?

  1. Perfect for a bunch of Cub Scouts, well maybe not the lawn mower. I am bring this to attention of our pack for next year.

    Thanks Mike and Cub Cadet!

    (Hey! Cub Cadet, Cub Scout…could be something there!)

  2. Mike,

    Thanks for what you are doing. As a servicemember on active duty who has served overseas in Iraq and Korea, this is something close to my heart. I was lucky enough that while I was overseas last that my yard was kept up by my friends and family. When people like you are willing to help us out, it makes the job that we do go a little easier. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. SSG William Staubs

    U.S. Army

  3. Hope to see that Cub Cadet “commercial” (seen in 2/23 episode of DJ)run a whole lot more… great spot, great cause, great spokesman — who’d have thunk it but Mike Rowe?

  4. Mike, you are such a (lawn) caring guy! This is an exemplary program by you and Cub Cadet. As the son of a WWII soldier, the brother in law of a retired Marine colonel and the uncle of a brand new Marine just out of The Basic School, I have a tremendous appreciation for the practical challenges back home of military service.

    This kind of program will make life a little easier for deployed service personnel. And that makes you a very American indeed!

  5. Cub Cadet is a great company that makes a great line of products! It’s good to see you teamed up with them, Mike! And the Green Care program is one that will actually make a difference in someone’s life, one yard at a time!


  6. Awesome, Mike, and thanks for bringing this to my attention! I’m one of those weirdos that actually loves mowing my lawn and weeding. I’m always a little sad when I’m done. Volunteering for this will be excellent for me!

  7. I like this. This is a cool idea. Living in a military town, we are always looking for ways for kids in the schools to help out with community service ideas. Often, in ways to help out military families. This is a good one.

  8. Very Cool!! As a spouse of a vet – THANKS! I had an acre to deal with while my soldier was away. This is a much needed service to the wonderful men and women who protect our freedoms and rights.

    Thanks so much for promoting this!

    Kudos too Cub Cadet for agreeing – always have liked their products!

  9. Mike, you never cease to amaze me man. Here I am, innocently scanning my Twitter updates on my phone when I happened upon yours. This is an AWESOME cause Mike. You are seriously amazing Mike! ♥Kel (South Carolina)

  10. Mike, My daughter is a huge fan of yours, and is always telling me about the shows. In fact, she is the one who sent me this link. You have a good heart…..Keep on doing what your doing. Great job!

  11. Mike Rowe, Discovery channel and Cub Cadet, God bless you for taking an interest in our service men and women, and serving them while they serve and protect the free and the oppressed.

  12. Thank you so much for showing that there are truly nice people in the world. I suspect that your Mother and Father had a lot to do with how well you turned out and still make sure you stay grounded in your ethics. I would volunteer my time but I also have too many years as an ER nurse and have a bad back.

  13. I’m signing up now! I know alot of my officer’s that have gone to fight and our guys take care of their lawn while they are gone… so I think this is a fabulous idea!

  14. My family and I all used Cub Cadet mowers for years. Then two years ago we got the snow blowers and compact tractors. We liked the product and we liked the company so April of 2009 we started a Cub Cadet dealership. Next month we will celebrate our third dealership grand opening.

    What people don’t know is that just last week as a dealer Cub asked us to participate in GreenCare For Troops. Since we are new dealers we didn’t even know anything about this and there was nothing on the Cub site (may change now don’t know). Not only is Cub taking part in this they did it in style without publicizing it everywhere. However as a dealer we are being encouraged to help out the initiative and volunteer whatever we can.

    Neither of us could have picked a better company to become involved with and it is an honor to have you aboard.

  15. It’s amazing. You act like the big buffoon, yet, inside lies a heart of pure gold. Thank you for being a celebrity (sorry, but you are a celebrity)who cares for people in need. God helps those who help themselves. Mike and crew helps those who help God. Who says “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”?

    I hope your project reaches every military family in need.

    Good luck and may God bless.

  16. Mike:

    Thank you for using your unique platform to be of service, especially for those who choose to be of service to our country. Using your usual erudite alliteration, you have once again managed to educate, entertain, and elate your viewers while enumerating the many altruistic features of this venture.

    We count on you for that, Mike. Thanks for bringing us yet another worthy pursuit!

  17. Great things tend to happen around you Mike Rowe and obviously by no accident.

    Thank you for your hard work and support of our military and their families.


  18. This brought tears to my eyes. I am a military wife and know how many soldiers there are without families to look after their property when they are deployed. I also know how hard it can be to maintain a yard when your husband is deployed and you have a toddler at home.

    Thank you so much for highlighting this wonderful organization. This is turly a great way to show your support for the troops.

  19. Hey Mike, thanks for being you. You enrich the lives of so many and kuddos to you and the Cub Cadet Company for Green Care For Troops! There aren’t that many companies left that truly care about people and not just about making a buck.

    Carry on and God bless!

  20. Hey Mike, just wanted to say thanks for what you do and for supporting our troops. I’m a memember of Green Care for Troops in the Statesville NC area for about 2.5 years now. We love helping out everytime we get a chance.

    Thank you again and please visit our web site. Thanks again Mike.

  21. I read about your efforts on behalf of SGT Pete, and I’m glad to see that there are organizations out there willing to assist the men and women who deployed and returned to find a home that they thought that they could go back to, only to find that the place is a shambles.

    Want to help another veteran? This project doesn’t just deal with an overgrown lawn, but the whole property, and a few hard-working folks who are trying to work a miracle on a shoe-string budget, and we’re feeling like we’re about to get overrun.

    Drop me a line and I’ll give you the details.

    Keep up the good work!

    SGT B.

  22. Hey Mike,

    Big Fan of the show, and i want to say thanks for helping out a fellow brother of mine, Its people like you and all those at Cub Cadet, and Green Care For Troops, that make our lives so much easier. Most people dont realize that the simple things Help make us drive on and push further, and knowing we have so much support and helping hands back home is one of the biggest things that drives us soldiers to be able to push past the brink, and get the job done, As well as give us more to look forward to for when we return home.

    Thank you again,

    Mike Shepherdson

  23. Bringing the spotlight to an otherwise unknown subject. I have been a fan for years but when I saw what you did Mike for all of my fellow troops I cannot help but to be overwhelmed with pride and admiration for you and your crew. As a former service member I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You and your crew will forever have my utmost admiration and R E S P E C T. Your friend, POTC Charles Keel

  24. Dear Mike, crew, and Green care for troops, thank you so much for doing good that actually helps others and not just yourself. Ive been looking for a way to do community service and I think I just did. Thanks again for giving a teenager some hope in the world she’s growing up in.

  25. Nice work, I am also very happy to see that for the most part when you were operating power equipment you were and so were the volunteers using personal protective equipment. Ear plugs, eye wear, chaps, helmets etc.

    I have witnessed volunteer activities where the participants did not use the right equipment for the right job. What good is an injured or even worse dead volunteer. I am happy that you at least for the most part were a good example so that people watching the show can follow your lead. Which they will do if given the correct information.

  26. Thank you Mike for helping bring light to such an amazing cause. But mostly, thanks to our soldiers, who endure so much for our safety and are sometimes forgotten. I know Vets who would have loved to have some of the small things(like their yards) taken care of while they were away. Green Care For Troops is doing just that for really deserving people. I am so glad to have learned about this great organization. Thanks again.


  27. I watch your show even when it’s a rerun because it makes me laugh. It warms my heart to see someone like to take notice of the fact that our soldiers and the families left behind really need help! It’s hard enough with the day to day life’s struggles. Work, kids, all their activities. Who has time or energy to tackle the yard after all that! Life in the military is NOT like how they portray it on ARMY WIVES. It’s a real dirty job in itself to be a spouse! Thank you for your support! Our soldiers really appreciate what you are doing!!


    A deployed soldiers wife

  28. I think this is a fantastic idea. A great opportunity for our boy scouts as well. I’m still between jobs, so there is no reason I can’t use some of my time to help those that help us to maintain our security. Mike & Cub Cadet, thanks for the opportunity to help.

    God Bless Our Troops!

  29. Hey Mike, I watch Dirty Jobs every weekend, sometimes even on weeknights depending when you are on. I get the biggest kick out of you guys and not to mention you’re pretty easy on the eyes! As I was reading about Green Care for Troops I was wondering about elderly people that can’t physically take care of their lawns, pruning and such and/or can’t afford to pay someone to do it for them. I have a neighbor that is in her seventies and has a heart condition and she stubbornly gets out there and cuts her grass every week. I of course help her as I can after doing my lawn. Some days it’s pretty darn hot as you well know. And also in the winter she’s out there trying to shovel her driveway until luckily a kid came by and did it for her (at $30.00 a pop). I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. I’m a talker too I guess. Just food for thought. Love love the show and will keep watching them if you keep bringing them.

    Take care Mike and keep on keeping on!


  30. You are truly amazing Mike. Love all the shows you do/narrate, and thank you for Green Care For Troops. You are really helping America with all of the programs you involve yourself in and know that because of your popularity, many more folks are now aware than before, of projects such as this. THANK YOU…..

  31. Hey Mike thanks for all you do for our vets. I am a disabled vet, three tours. I sorry to say but I really believe that vets are getting way less respect than say around the end of the second war, when I came home only one of my brothers was there to meet me, out twelve sibblings. Any way I a stickler for my yard, I like it green and colorful, now listen to this: the person I bought this house from has paid for a gardener for the last eight years and still does, what a guy. Hey Mike come down to the Coachella Valley in the summer to pick and pack grapes, you’ll love the 110+ heat, the pestecides, the sweat and humity. I’ll be waiting for you.

  32. Thanks Mike for taking time out of your busy life to help a great cause. Those of us who love yard work appreciate the chance to help others.



  33. Mike, what a wonderful way to help our troops serving this great country overseas. You and the volunteers did a great job and I applaud you guys for stepping up to the plate to help in a big way along with Cub Cadet.

  34. that is a great thing you guys did for him and everybody that that is deployed and needs help with taking care of the lawn and to the guy that was supposed to look after his lawn while he was away shame on you what kind of a friend are you anyway

  35. Mike, Cub Cadet, Project Greencare, and all the Dirty Jobs Crew!

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all your support! It means a lot to us that you have taken a special interest in an organization that does so much for service-members (and their families). Can’t wait to see more PSA’s in the future.

    My daughter loved the experience while up there at Sgt Pete’s she still talks about it. Thank you again

    Holly, Kairen, and Miyana

  36. Mike Rowe I am so glad to hear that well known people such as yourself are stepping up and trying to help some that are unable to. I was in Iraq in 05′ and 06′ now I am here in the states trying to do something similar to what you are and help the families of those who are deployed. I only wish you could really know how much it means to everyone in the military when people want to lend a helping hand.



  37. Mike, I’ve always liked your shows, in part because they are entertaining, but also because you always seemed like a genuine, down-to-earth, good guy. But your stock just went up a few notches. I’ve tried to help vets and soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines whenever possible, but the Green Care For Troops thing is beyond cool.

    I’ve sent the link to this page out to several places, bought a shirt, and a couple friends and I are signing up to help get a yard or three squared away in our town.

    Thank you very much for using your fame for improving the world, and improving a soldier’s life. My hat’s off to you, sir.

  38. Thanks Mike, for all that you do for our fellow Americans. Wheather it is helping servicemen and women or others in need. You always come thru. God bless you. Also we are fans of Deadliest Catch and your comments on Capt. Phil was the best.

  39. Good show, everyone! Thanks Mike, and all the crew! I was in the Navy for the last four years, and really, I don’t give a crap about the yard work, just the principle behind what you did. Great job, you guys! I’ll keep up with you till there isn’t anything to keep up with.


    Joseph Lyon

  40. My husband is deploying and we have a 1 acre lot with two ditches that freak me out to even think about approaching to mow. While I do have three boys, Aspergers, and severe Allergies and Asthma keep my oldest son from being able to help me with things outside.

    How about setting up a page that lists contact information like a email address for volunteer groups grouped by states or military bases that will be willing to come help spouses of deployed soldiers with lawn care? Often even if that information is available, it sometimes gets lost in the chain of information passed to spouses, or even doesnt get to new incoming spouses at all.

    Thanks for the help

    A Family of Five Dirty Jobs Fans!!!

  41. Thanks for making the dirt shirt available. I saw that episode and liked the red color. Glad to see that I can, not only, purchase one and but help out a good cause while I’m at it. 🙂

  42. I placed an app. a few weeks ago(probably too late) for some yard help..my husband and son will be home in 3 weeks from Iraq, my husbands 2nd tour..son’s 1st…haven’t heard anything from the application…but thank you anyway on behalf of all the military spouses and family’s in this great USA…..

  43. Mike-

    Hats off to you and Cub Cadet for an awesome job! My best friend Tim1 has been in Afghanistan for the last year and I have been helping his young sons keep his yard in shape. It is nice to know that you are out there helping our heroes also!

  44. Thank you!!!!

    As a military wife I can attest to how things seem to pile up when your spouse leaves and how much I relied on him to mow the lawn! You should have seen how I “mowed” my lawn with the weedwacker!

    Green Care For Troops is an amazing project for not only soldiers but for the families. Simple things become much harder when you are left to do it yourself and thanks to the great volunteers from the project its one thing we dont have to worry about.

    Thank you Mike Rowe and all the volunteers who helped Sgt. Peter Mavropolous and thank you Sgt. for everything you do.

    thank you for supporting such an amazing cause and the volunteers who make the project possible. We are very grateful to you all.

  45. Thank you Mike for doing this for our troops! My late husband was in the military as well and after he passed away it was hard to keep up with all the chores around the house…and the lawn, or should I say dirt and weed patch after my attemptss to take care of it? It is people like you and company’s like Cub Cadet that make this world a little bit better at a time. THANK YOU!

  46. Hey mike just signed up to help out i’ll let you know how it goes. saw your commercial and went to greencare for troops. it didnt take long to fill out their form

  47. While watching my favorite show Dirty Jobs I heard about the site and how generous the volunteers of such a unique organization are helping service members. It’s such a wonderful thing being in the military and having that special help that makes our mission worthwhile. I personally what to thank everyone.

    Gunnery Sergeant Ronald Lee

    United States Marine Corps

    (Iraq Tours: 2003,04’,06’,08’)

  48. Hey Mike can you come do my yard? I got one kid over in IRAQ and the husband is a drilling Reservist. My yard looks like crap and the dinosaur of a tractor has to be jerry rigged to work. By the way good job helping out the soldiers.

  49. I have watched Dirty Jobs for just about as long as it has been on the air. Surprisingly, or maybe sadly, my cat will sit on the floor and watch you. And it HAS to be you because she will come and sit down when she hears your Ford commercials. All that is a little tough to take considering I’m the one emptying the litter box. (Dirty Job Residential – as opposed to Dirty Job Commercial)

    All the one liners, sucky jobs, turkeys (man, THAT one was gross), ostriches, making manly soap and Barsky are great entertainment, but when you ‘show up’ for Vets, your street cred goes up. Some of these guys are coming home damaged physically and psychologically, get poor support from the Government and the last thing that would be on their minds would be their yard. Good curb appeal makes every one happy….

    Thanx for what you do, Mike.

    I can’t think of a Dirty Job suggestion to send in – unless you want the litter box.

  50. Mike,

    As tears roll down my face because it is so rewarding to know that someone in this world we have today, really cares about “the person”. Thank you. Thank you so much for representing our service men and our skilled laborers with such respect. Thank you for the giving of your time. Thank you for all the times you have made me laugh. Thank you for giving me something that I can watch on television that is family friendly. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for being you.

    God’s blessing,


  51. Mike you are the MAN. It’s about time that someone higher on the food chain stood up for the rest of us. I served six years in the ARMY and have worked hard in constuction, you are my new role model. Keep up the good work!

  52. Hi Mike!

    Just watched your video, and thought it was GREAT! My huuby and I are firm believers in helping out our vets in any way we can, after all, they give to us every day. I also purchased 2 of your shirts for us to wear to show our support. Love the show! Never miss it!


  53. Mike, I just bought the Dirt Shirt Green Care For Troops..And now my mom and sister wants one to..I wore mine the other nite and they were reading it in the motel room which we were staying in and they really like it…So now I will have to get 2 Dirt Shirts Green Care For Troops… You might say I Support Our Troops Overseas. My Mom, Sister and I are involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the Ladies Auxiliry in Minnesota..I just wanted to say THANK YOU FOR HELPING THE TROOPS!
    Thanks Monica 🙂

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