A team dressed in orange waved paint brushes across stucco like a group on a mission.
“I love brown. Brown is my absolute favorite color,” joked Largo Home Depot employee Lindsey Tornello as she slathered another layer of brown paint onto the garage door. “Had he picked teal, I don’t know.”
Dozens of volunteers from local Home Depot stores spent their day off sprucing up the home of Army veteran Randy Acker. The veteran, who has lived in the same home since 1985, was not able to keep up with a lot of the work that was needed on his home because of nagging injuries and fatigue.
“You could never ask for anything better than someone volunteering her time,” he said with a smile on his face. “'Grateful' isn’t the right word. 'Extraordinary' is a better word.”
Acker contacted ServiceSource Florida for help after seeing a story with a fellow veteran receiving help from Home Depot volunteers back in 2016. From high on the roof, Nancy Baraky used a pole to finish covering the chimney with brown paint.
“Putting your foot forward to help is always a good cause,” she said.
Down below, Drew Lane, who works alongside Tornello in the Largo store, finished installing a new side door. The previous door was falling apart after years of decay.
For him, giving back to a veteran felt like duty.
“I never had the pleasure of serving, but every one of my family members served,” he said while adjusting the new doorknob. “To me, it’s a connection where I can go back because I don’t have them with me anymore.”
The Home Depot partnered with ServiceSource Florida to renovate the veteran’s home. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $184 million in veteran causes, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 29,900 homes for veterans.
“I said ‘If there’s anything you can do I’d be thankful’,” said Acker.
The Home Depot volunteers painted, replaced doors, installed new electrical and put in new landscaping and a mailbox for Acker. The improvements were possible because of a $2,500 grant from the Home Depot Foundation.