OGDENSBURG, NJ – A Vietnam veteran and his family had many improvements made to his home last week by volunteers from the Sparta Elks Lodge and The Home Depot.  Elks’ John Middleton and Scott Melick, District Team Depot community captain, explained the operation from the front steps of Ron Hill’s Edison Avenue home.

Melick said the project “kicks off the Celebration of Service season,” which officially runs in September. The veteran reached out to Home Depot in Newton.  The Team Home Depot then “partners with a local non-profit to be consistent and fair.”

The work was done in two phases; phase one was exterior work and phase two tackled the interior.  All of the work was expected to be done in just a couple of days due to the great number of volunteers.  The Sparta VFW also contributed some man power to the efforts.

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For phase one bedding plants and shrubs were planted, a paver walkway was laid to connect the driveway to the deck, the deck was painted and an awning was added to the deck . Additionally, a motorized chair lift was added for easier access to the home.

“The improvements provide life altering changes inside and out, helping the vet and the family get in and out easier with less stress,” Melick said.

Phase two was significant with four rooms of carpeting laid down, renovations to the fixtures in the bathroom, French doors onto the deck, repairs to kitchen cabinets, LED smart home upgrades and grab bars added throughout the home. 

Several of The Home Depot area stores were represented including Newton, Roxbury and Riverdale.  Dee Magni Team Depot Leader from the Roxbury store, Rob Jakium District Team Depot Leader from the Riverdale store worked with about 25 volunteers; “shift employees and friends sharing in the wealth of giving back,” according to Magni.

“The Home Depot associates come out and volunteer on their days off.  We love to live our core values and give back to the community,” Melick said. “What makes it possible is The Home Depot Foundation.  Our values are to give back.”

The foundation is funded by The Home Depot, which in turn, provides grants to local non-profit organizations.  The non-profits then partner with The Home Depot employees to get the projects completed. 

“The Home Depot employees some 80,000 veterans,” Melick said.  “We like to honor the veterans that have served our country.  It is the right thing to do.”

Middleton and his wife Doreen together with Art Murch coordinated efforts through the Sparta Elks Lodge. In addition to manpower, Magni said the Middleton’s secured food donations to fuel the volunteers.

“There is no better non-profit partner than the Sparta Elks Veterans,” Melick said. 

Doreen Middleton said food had been provided from Atlantic Manor, Dunkin Donuts, Eddie and the Briquettes and Sam’s Convenience Store all in Ogdensburg and the Bagel Tree in Franklin.

The Home Depot vendors Home Depot Exteriors, American Carpet, Scotts Miracle -Gro and Behr Paint all donated to the project as will, according to Melick.

Two more projects are scheduled for the area so far including one in Landing in September.