Note: This is a sponsored post for The Home Depot Foundation. Every thought, opinion, and experience is 100% my own.
Remember the Celebration of Service event that I attended in Houston 2 weeks ago? I had the opportunity to attend another awesome event in my hometown of Austin! The Home Depot Foundation is transforming 1,000 homes for veterans in 2 months from 9/11 until Veterans Day on 11/11. While this project was a lot smaller than the one I attended in Houston, it was just as spirited! We had 40+ Home Depot employees volunteer their time and talent on their day off to help the Jones family make their new home wheelchair friendly.
I had the pleasure of meeting Joey and Meg Jones who recently moved to Austin from Washington D.C. for Joey’s new job as Director of Marketing for Boot Campaign. Joey lost both of his legs above the knee after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in 2010. While serving in Afghanistan Joey disarmed over 85 IEDs and disposed of several thousands of pounds of unknown bulk explosives. How scary is that? Terrifying, if you ask me! I am so thankful for the brave men and women that risk their lives everyday to serve and protect our country!
While Joey was in recovery at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he started a Peer Visit Program that allowed him and other wounded warriors to encourage and mentor more recently wounded warriors in the in-patient wards. For his service and commitment to uplifting and supporting wounded veterans, Joey received honors including the Purple Heart, the Outstanding Military Community Service Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Joey uses his prosthetic legs at work, but he “pops” them off and uses a wheelchair when he’s at home. I had no idea, but Meg explained to me that prosthetic legs need to air out, and you can’t wear them 24/7. Prosthetic legs are attached to the limb by suction, who knew?! So, Team Depot is making their new home wheelchair and prosthetic leg friendly. For instance, their master bathroom has narrow door ways and Joey had to climb out of his wheelchair and army crawl to the shower and toilet because the wheelchair did not fit through the doorways. A local Home Depot actually widened the bathroom doorway and removed the closet door earlier in the month. The bathroom is being gutted today to install a wheelchair friendly shower and even make a sliding barn door to cover the newly widened doorway that separates the bathroom area from the bedroom.
They live on 5 acres, but Joey was not able to fully utilize the outdoor space because the back doorway is too narrow for his wheelchair. Team Depot widened 2 doorways leading outside. They also added french doors from the master bedroom to a giant new patio that Joey can use with his wheelchair or prosthetic legs. Watching this window turn into french doors in one day was pretty amazing!
And here are the (almost) finished french doors!
Now, check out this view they will have from their master bedroom with the addition of the french doors. Oh I love the Texas hill country, y’all!
The awesome new patio has both stairs and a ramp for the wheelchair with access to the pool. I learned prosthetic legs can get caught on carpet or grass making it much easier to walk on smooth surfaces like concrete or wood. It’s also hard to go down inclines on prosthetics, but stairs are not a problem.
The dust is flying!
Team Depot ripped up all of the carpet out of the house and is adding hardwood floors and making 2 bathrooms wheelchair friendly this week! We also widened the space at the front door to make entering the house easier in a wheelchair. This was not a one day project, y’all. The entire project will take about a month to complete. I’m so excited to see the space 100% finished!
I helped with a little dirt work! Team Depot donated a fire pit and it extending the pool patio for Joey to enjoy as much of the outdoor space as possible.
The Home Depot Foundation partnered with bloggers such as me for their Celebration of Service program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot Foundation believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot Foundation’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
Comments & Reviews
What an awesome thing you are a part of!! Can’t wait to see the transformation as well. Thank you to Joey (and his wife) for serving our country and keeping us “regular” people safe. 🙂