Team Depot Leaders: JP Torres, District Community Captain (California)

escondido project day before and after 026 The Team Depot Leaders blogs tell the Team Depot story through the eyes of some of our best captains, including why they participate in the program and what it really means to them.

 Why I participate in Team Depot

 Giving back is a gift. My perspective on it was changed by another Home Depot store manager, Lisa Ference. Lisa and I were driving to lunch in Escondido, CA, when we passed a woman standing on a street corner asking for money. Lisa stopped her car and asked me to get a bag out of her trunk, which I agreed to, puzzled. When I got to her trunk, I found two boxes. In them were kits, clearly for men or women, which contained basic toiletries, socks and other miscellaneous items. These items are bare necessities at best, but something everyone needs and that Lisa gives from her heart in situations like this. 

 The look the woman on the street corner gave us when we gave her the bag was very thankful. At that point, I promised myself that all of my interactions with the community should mean that much to someone. Shortly after that, I became a District Community Captain. I have completed projects of all sizes, from five associates and myself to larger projects with more than 300 volunteers. All of them are impactful for the veteran we are helping and all of them mean something to me. Some of them are life changing for those who benefit. I still think of the face of the woman on the street corner when I handed her that bag. That is what I want for the people that we help. That is why I participate in Team Depot.

 What Team Depot means to me

 Team Depot is an opportunity to show everyone what The Home Depot is about. At the Hawley House in El Cajon, CA, 20 veterans from different branches of service and different wars were suffering from PTSD among other ailments. During my first visit, they were content to stay in their rooms and remain silent to the world. The entire time I was there before the project, I only saw five of them. I remember walking the site with the President/CEO of Volunteers of America Southwest before all of the volunteers arrived and he said, “I don’t know how you are going to get all of this done! This seems impossible.”  I turned to him and said, “Just hold on and enjoy the ride. We will deliver beyond your dreams.”

 On the morning of the project, 300 Team Depot volunteers arrived at a facility with an outside space that was completely unusable. We transformed it from a barren desert landscape to a place of peace with vegetable gardens, a citrus orchard, walking paths, recreational play areas, green turf and shaded sitting areas. Every volunteer poured their heart and soul into the facility that day.

 A few days after we were finished, I walked the facility again with the Hawley House facility director. She said the transformation was all the buzz in their organization and that more veterans than ever were outside enjoying it than she had ever seen. The best part was that one veteran in particular who had not been outside for several weeks was now enjoying the newly created outdoor area every day. When the program director asked him how he liked the changes, he told her he liked it all… He just hadn’t decided which his favorite part was! I told her that is what we do this for and that is what Team Depot means to me.

 JP Torres

Store Manager, Vista Store #1074

District Community Captain, District 21

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4 Responses to “Team Depot Leaders: JP Torres, District Community Captain (California)”

  1. Karen says:

    Thank you, Jp.
    I am a staff member at Hawley; and I can personally re-assure you that all the hard work you, your staff and volunteers performed are still very much appreciated by the clients and staff alike.
    Many of us gather to watch the sunrise over a cup of coffee, or sit around the fire-pit in the evenings. Many clients find it restful to be out on the lawns, or just sitting at any one of the gathering places on the property.
    Clients are taking pride in watering and maintaining the grounds. Plants and flower we did not know were here are growing and blooming.

    Staff and Clients of Hawley

  2. This is very nice information, Thanks for sharing.

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