On September 5, we launched our 3rd Annual Celebration of Service. Since the launch, Team Depot volunteers have participated in nearly 100 projects benefiting veterans, caregivers and their families. Below is a first-person report from volunteer Chris Giallanza, who participated in his first Celebration of Service project on September 19th in Cincinnati.
The only thing more impressive than Team Depot’s accomplishments in a single day are those of the veterans we help, which was once again made clear on a rainy September day in Cincinnati.
As a first-time participant in a Celebration of Service project, I was overwhelmed by the dedication and genuine enthusiasm of the local Team Depot volunteers even before we dispersed to simultaneously take on 10 projects for local veterans throughout the metropolitan area.
My concerns after watching the local weather forecast must have shown through on my face as I joined the group of volunteers gathering in front of Pleasant Ridge store #3832.
“Oh, don’t worry. We work in the rain,” reassured one Team Depot volunteer.
That was an understatement.
I accompanied a group of 30 or so to the home of Anna Fields, a WWII veteran who served as a nurse in one of the country’s first African-American nurse companies – tending to soon-to-be amputees wounded in the European Theater.
By the time the sun made its first appearance later that morning, every single volunteer had already made significant headway on a variety of projects around the house, including a group of The Home Depot executives from Atlanta who quickly proved they came to work every bit as hard, if not harder, than the rest of us.
From refreshing nearly all of the front porch to a substantial renovation in the back of the house, volunteers stopped only to visit with Anna, fighting back tears as she and her family expressed their profound gratitude for Team Depot’s “drop everything and help” attitude.
“My orange angels,” Anna repeated throughout the day.
Throughout the day, local reporter after local reporter sat with Anna to hear her story, entranced by her charm and incredible stories from her 98 years of life.
Only as the projects neared completion did I have the chance to step back and take in all that Team Depot had done in a single day. Anna’s home looked brand new, and her family’s hope was restored. Their hero and role model would be able to stay in her home for her remaining years.
While several volunteers came together to put the finishing touches on a front-yard light post, emotions ran high as Paula Fields, Anna’s youngest daughter and full-time caretaker, boomed her gratitude with a contagious enthusiasm she undoubtedly got from her mother.
The Team Depot volunteers gathered briefly to reflect on the day’s accomplishments with confidence the other nine projects went just as well. And with exhausted smiles and teary eyes, we wished the Fields’ our best and went on our way – anxious for the next project in support of Cincinnati’s local veterans.
- Chris Giallanza
For more information on Celebration of Service, click here. See Anna Fields’ featured project here.