Home Depot helps veteran refurbish home

By: 
CAROLYN DRYER, Glendale Star Executive Editor

Photo by Carolyn Dryer

Team Depot volunteers watch a small bulldozer break up the ground to prepare for laying turf and landscape rock.
 

Team Depot volunteer Mark Southard works the hoe to uproot grass as other volunteers in the background prepare the house for painting and the yard to create a path for the small bulldozer. Southard said he was volunteering to give back to veterans who have served their country.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jonathan Larkin expresses thankfulness for the work Team Depot and Hands On Greater Phoenix did to bring his home up to code.
 

Nov. 29, the Home Depot Foundation partnered with Phoenix-based nonprofit Hands On Greater Phoenix to transform the exterior home of Jonathan Larkin, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served four years in Iraq. After he was discharged in 2007, Larkin continued to serve his country by running for elected office in the Arizona State House of Representatives, where he served from 2012-2016.
Following his time in office, Larkin became temporarily unemployed and a vehicle collided into his living room, causing great financial burden and extensive damage to the home.
Larkin said last week that when he left the Legislature, he was still going to school to earn his bachelor’s degree at DeVry, and decided to devote his time to school and “rolled that into a master’s program.” He had some funds in a savings account and that, along with G.I. education benefits, helped pay for his schooling.
But other issues came his way. He said the city of Glendale cited him for code non-compliance.
Larkin needed support to help refurbish the exterior of his home to meet code compliance, including landscaping, exterior painting, and a freshly paved driveway.
He said he was having coffee with another Marine friend and mentioned the city of Glendale had an issue with code compliance “after nine years.”
His friend worked with Veterans Community Connections, Larkin said, and they had worked on several outreach projects together. The friend called around and found a program that could offer Larkin some relief and get his home into compliance.
Working with Hands On Greater Phoenix, Team Depot’s associate-led volunteer force showed up at Larkin’s house Nov. 29 with approximately 20 volunteers, who completed the work on the home on their day off. For the first time ever, instead of their traditional orange Home Depot gear, they were outfitted in military green T-shirts to honor the service men and women who have served their country.
Team Depot site supervisor Billy Parker said early on Nov. 29 at the site he was the person who contacted Larkin and learned of his plight and how Larkin did not have the funds to bring his home into compliance. Parker then contacted Steve Woodhams from Hands On Greater Phoenix and they came to Larkin’s home to assess what Larkin needed.
“He said he wanted landscape rock and turf,” Parker said. “But we wanted to do more — painting and fixing the plumbing. We’re doing artificial turf; there’s no sprinkler system that works; it’s beyond repair.”
The 20 volunteers on site are from the same Home Depot District 130 in Phoenix and Glendale, Parker said.
“We do primarily veteran projects to give back to those who gave so much to us,” Parker said.
Mark Southard, who works in the lumber department of a Home Depot in Scottsdale, was using a hoe to tear grassroots out of the yard.
Southard, who grew up in Glendale and attended Alhambra High School, said, “I have family members who are veterans. In my term, it’s giving back.”
Team Depot member Brian Dyer said, “It’s nice to work with a company that allows us to give back.”
Dyer has worked on 10 different volunteer projects. His wife is a third-generation native of Glendale.
When all the work was done later in the day, a new lawn was covered with landscape rock with a rectangular turf feature set off by a circle of brick pavers. The house had a new coat of paint and a sign stood in the middle to let people know Team Depot had completed another volunteer project.
Larkin walked along the sidewalk later that day and said, “I think Arizona has a lot of great programs for veterans. I just hope this inspires other veterans to reach out. We’re here for one another. I had no idea this was going to happen — just having coffee with a friend.”

From Home Depot:
The project in Glendale is part of The Home Depot’s eighth annual Celebration of Service campaign to improve the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has transformed more than 40,000 homes and facilities for veterans across the country. Giving back to veterans is personal to The Home Depot, as more than 35,000 of the company’s associates have served in the military.
To learn how to get involved in your community, visit ServeVeterans.com.

About The Home Depot Foundation
Since 2011, the Foundation has invested a quarter of a billion dollars in veteran-related causes and improved more than 40,000 veteran homes and facilities in 2,500 cities. In 2018, the Foundation committed an additional $50 million to train 20,000 skilled trades’ people over the next 10 years, starting with separating military members and veterans, at-risk youth and members of the Atlanta Westside community. To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit thd.co/community and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at facebook.com/teamdepot.
About Hands On Greater Phoenix
Hands On Greater Phoenix’s mission is to meet critical community needs while creating volunteer opportunities especially designed for working people. We partner with a wide range of community service organizations and government agencies to tackle issues like homelessness, hunger, education, animal welfare, environmental challenges, and much more. The organization is an affiliate of HandsOn Network, an innovative alliance of volunteer organizations working to build community through service and civic engagement across the United States and abroad.
Learn more at https://www.handsonphoenix.org/.

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