Fort Worth Volunteer Project Part of The Home Depot Foundation’s Nationwide Operation Surprise Campaign
More than seventy-five members of Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate volunteer force, spent three mornings this past week rebuilding the outdoor deck, wheelchair ramp, renovating a garage and installing a raised garden beds with spring plants for local Army Veteran Sergeant Greg Dotson of Fort Worth.
The Home Depot Foundation also presented several special surprises to Sergeant Dotson and his daughters, which they can enjoy in their new backyard, including all new lawn equipment and beautiful outdoor furniture.
“It has been a very long yet wonderful week,” Amanda Vega, Site Coordinator for the project, cheerfully admitted. “It was a three-day long project. We began on Tuesday, and the ‘reveal’ was Thursday, Veteran’s Day. We built the new raised garden beds, re-did the interior of his garage – to give him a true space for his wood working – along with providing brand new tools, and then surprised him with a $500 gift card to finish a project he’d been working on in the back yard, a playhouse for his daughters.”
This project kicked off The Home Depot Foundation’s Operation Surprise campaign, an annual giving campaign which runs from Veterans Day through the end of the year. Across the country, members of Team Depot will take part in volunteer projects to support U.S. veterans and communities in need.
Army Medic Dotson
After enlisting at the age of seventeen, Dotson served as an Army medic for 10 years, saving more than 160 soldiers in two combat tours. During a deployment to Iraq in 2007, Dotson lost his left leg and severely wounded his right leg in a bomb detonation. Even after over thirty surgeries, Dotson manages physical and mental challenges on a daily basis. He is a proud single parent to three young daughters. The family loves to spend time gardening and grilling outdoors together.
“Now with the $500 gift certificate and his new tools, he can buy what he needs to finish the playhouse he’s been building for his girls,” Amanda said. “Meanwhile, we also framed his Purple Heart medal, which he had hanging on a thumb tack in his garage.” The Home Depot group also had a custom-made flag created from wood to give to the Sergeant for his back yard, “But he likes it so much, he said he’s putting it inside the house over his fireplace mantel,” Amanda said.
Sergeant Dotson was recommended to the Home Depot Surprise group through Semper Fi & America’s Fund, a group led by military spouses provide support to early wounded and injured service members from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Home Depot Operation Surprise
The Home Depot Foundation’s Operation Surprise campaign is an annual celebration of The Home Depot’s commitment to giving back. The Foundation’s seasonal giving campaign, kicking off on Veterans Day and running through the end of the year, features life-changing surprises for communities and individual recipients. In addition, each Home Depot store nationwide will give back locally and support projects in the community where they operate.
Amanda is proud to be a part of these projects. An employee of Home Depot for 14 years, she says she took a job back when she was in college. “It was just supposed to put me through college at SMU. I was just a poor little kid and Home Depot changed my life!” A native Texan, Amanda grew up in the tiny town of Valley View and graduated with just 31 classmates. “I tried hard to be the Salutatorian but missed it by one position.” So, she graduated #3 in her class and went to SMU on a Track Scholarship.
Home Depot Employees Give Back
Four years later with a degree in Economics and a full-time job offer from Home Depot, she has been looking at a bright future just like she did in high school: by working hard to move up. But she says, “I’m just part of an awesome group of associates and leaders that want to give back. All of our time was volunteered, and that included three other store managers and two district managers.”
More than 35,000 of Home Depot’s current associates are veterans or military spouses. In the past 10 years, The Home Depot Foundation has helped renovate and enhance more than 50,000 veteran homes and facilities, ensuring more of our nation’s heroes have a safe, comfortable place to call home that fits their individual needs. As a company that values service, The Home Depot is honored to help support community members who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $375 million in veteran causes. It has improved more than 50,000 veteran homes and facilities. The Foundation has pledged to invest half of a billion dollars in veteran causes by 2025. In addition, it will invest $50 million in training the next generation of skilled tradespeople through the Path to Pro program. To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation visit HomeDepotFoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @HomeDepotFound and on Facebook and Instagram @HomeDepotFoundation.
Semper Fi & America’s Fund
Semper Fi & America’s Fund (The Fund) began with military spouses who immediately jumped in to provide bedside support to early wounded and injured service members from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Fund’s model of lifelong relationships between service members and the Semper Fi team is unique among veterans’ service organizations. The Fund is maintained today by those same military spouses. Now it includes a patriotic staff of veterans, community members, and volunteers. To learn more about The Fund visit TheFund.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, all @semperfifund.