For the sixth straight year, the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program, part of American Legion Post 45 in Canton, Ga., and American Legion Post 316 of Woodstock, Ga., have stepped up to help veterans in need of home repairs or mobility projects. We were not sure of 2020 with the COVID situation, but local volunteers, both veterans and non-veterans, along with a material grant from the Home Depot Foundation came together to build a porch and wheelchair ramp for a young 100% disabled Air Force veteran first responder.
The veteran's house is being built with a home modification grant from VA, and in order for him to move into the house he needed a sturdy ramp and front porch. This project was first identified in fall 2019. The project was originally targeted to begin in April 2020, but with COVID restrictions we went on hold. The foundation also froze their grants and grant process, so we were in limbo as to how we would get this project and the six others pending done.
With the help of Fred Brown, district Home Depot Team Depot captain, and Sean Vissar, Home Depot Foundation, we were able to have the material grant funding released in August for this project. With Home Depot still under phase 1 of their COVID protocol, the project needed to go forward without local Team Depot support as partners in the build.
Working with oversight from the VA-certified builder, we began this project on a Wednesday morning. The team of volunteers varied in size and age, with most of those who helped being veterans from the local community representing three conflict eras, multiple VSOs from Cherokee County and multiple branches of the service. On the one Saturday we worked, we were glad to have the local Arrow Exterminator’s Veteran team with us as we needed to get this project done so we could move onto the others we have planned. Finally, after several days of work and effort, and being interrupted by Hurricane Sally, we finally finished the project on a sunny Friday afternoon.
Even though we finished our portion of the project, we are continuing to help with this house repair, as we have brought in the local Habitat for Humanity team to construct another covered ramp this project needs as well as reaching out to local concrete companies in the hope that they can donate some of the estimated 70+ yards needed to install a retaining wall and sidewalks connecting the ramps.