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Local man starts nonprofit to give back to veterans

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President of Because We Care, Mardell Fresh, stands in front of the products he’s growing. | Courtesy Sue Johnson

IDAHO FALLS — A local man wants to make sure veterans are taken care of — and he’s doing it with fresh produce and firewood.

Blackfoot native Mardell Fresh says he first got the idea to help veterans while he was in the hospital recovering from a gout flare-up. Laying in a hospital bed, he got the impression that he needed to do more. He thought about it for several years and finally came up with the idea to launch Because We Care, a nonprofit organization based in southeast Idaho.

“I’ve put my heart and soul in this. I eat, live, sleep nonprofit,” he said.

The organization has two projects they’re working on right now — Wood for Warriors and Freedom Greens.

Wood for Warriors is where they provide free firewood to veterans in need.

With Freedom Greens, they grow lettuce and microgreens with an aquaponics system. This is a system of growing plants in water. His goal is to donate a box of greens once a week to the Idaho State Veterans Home in Pocatello.

“It is locally grown. It’s organically grown. And we’ll be growing it 365 days a year,” he said.

Sue Johnson recently stumbled across Fresh’s greens. She saw first-hand the work Fresh is doing and was impressed with his desire to serve.

“He put his entire resources and all of his time into this new nonprofit for veterans,” she said.

Fresh has several goals in mind for the organization’s future such as provide employment opportunities to veterans and starting a ranch where they can raise their own beef and supply it to veteran houses. He also hopes to one day get a pontoon boat to take veterans fishing.

“We’re excited to (see) where this can go and what good we can do,” he said. “The whole thing not about making gains, it’s about what we can give.”

To contact Fresh, call (208) 497-1219 or email him at bwcidaho1@gmail.com. More information can also be found by clicking here.

Some of the fresh greens that Mardell Fresh grows. | Courtesy Sue Johnson
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