A local service organization has partnered with one of the world’s leading home improvement retailers to help improve the lives of Monroe County veterans and their families.
Over the past few days, Habitat for Humanity of Monroe and The Home Depot’s associate volunteer force known as Team Depot have worked together to build a ramp outside the home of Monroe resident Jill Sharpe.
The wife of the late William “Bill” Sharpe, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard who died in 2016, Jill requires either a walker or wheelchair to leave her home. Her existing ramp was in a state of disrepair and at a dangerously steep slope.
Hers is the first ramp to be built through this new partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Monroe and The Home Depot.
Dave Graves, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Monroe, explained that The Home Depot provides the building materials and volunteers to help with the labor, while his organization provides supervisors and covers out-of-pocket expenses such as any permits that may be necessary.
“We’re finding that these ramps, in just a typical installation, cost us between $7,000 and $8,000,” Graves said. “And that’s of course (because) the cost of lumber went up. It’s come down a little bit now, but that’s today’s prices. It was even worse than that a couple months ago. It is expensive, but what (the ramp) will do to her quality of life, to let her go in and out of her place without assistance, is just huge.
“You can’t really put a number on that.”
Jennifer Hockenberger, Director of Fundraising and Media Relations for Habitat for Humanity of Monroe, said that the contributions made by Home Depot puts her organization “leaps and bounds from where we were.”
“No one should have to endure that struggle, the stress and pain that comes with not being able to access your own home safely and independently,” Hockenberger said. “To give her that sense of independence is priceless.”
Jill said that one of the best parts about her new ramp is the deck that connects it to her home, because it allows her to safely watch her grandkids play in the yard without having to risk walking or rolling her wheelchair over the uneven ground.
“I always have to look out the window, because I can’t go out and sit in my yard,” she said. “It’s too uneven, and I would fall… (the deck) took my breath away.”
Graves said that there’s several options available for individuals interested in helping support his organization or its programs. Habitat is always looking for recommendations of veterans, or families of veterans, that need their help. Those wanting to get more hands-on can also visit the organization’s website to learn more about volunteering. And monetary donations are always appreciated.
Jill says her experience with Habitat and Home Depot has been nothing but life changing.
“They’ve been wonderful,” she said.