A remodeled home and, hopefully, a new view of the world for veterans

A remodeled home and, hopefully, a new view of the world for veterans

HILLSBORO, Ore. – Chuck Reynolds has been busy since he got back from the Korean War.

He was a single father.

He worked as many as three jobs.

He’s raising a grandchild with his wife.

Now, he’s going to have to find time in his schedule for yard work.

Reynolds got a new yard – plus other home repairs like efficient-energy upgrades, new paint and a refurbished deck – as part of a Home Depot program that aims to help struggling veterans.

“It’s gonna be nice,” Reynolds said Thursday as more than 40 people worked on his home. “It’s gonna be gorgeous. It’s gonna be like a green ocean.”

The company’s Celebration of Service program aims to improve housing for hundreds of veterans across the U.S.

Fred Wacker, the director and chief operating officer of the Home Depot Foundation, is a Vietnam veteran himself.

“We want to make sure that every veteran has a safe place to call home,” Wacker said. “He feels safer, he feels like we really care for him, which is really important.

“He can come out in the yard and have a good time with his grandchildren in the summertime, so he has said ‘it’s improving my quality of life.’”

Reynolds’ wife, Stephanie, contacted the program, telling them about his years raising his children on his own. He worked for a security company until last year, when he lost his job.

As the problems and bills mounted, his home fell into disrepair.

“My lawn was a jungle because my lawnmower broke,” Reynolds said. “It became infested by vicious weeds that ate everything and they grew quicker than the grass.”

The program is partially volunteer driven. Trisha Sweeney, for one, gave up part of her day to help work in the yard.

“It’s just a great experience to be able to help somebody and to say thank you for the service they provide,” she said. “Sometimes I think our veterans just get forgotten and get lost in the mix.”

Reynolds is back in school, having decided he wants to become a drug and alcohol counselor.

He said the project has further motivated him to give back.

Wacker said the program aims to make veterans feel like part of the community.

“Last week was the first time that (I did a project for) a female veteran, who served in the Air Force,” he said. “She had the same attitude that, for the first time, I feel like my service was worth it - all these people care about me.”