The holidays are a little bit easier for 10 veterans living in one of Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana’s residential communities because of the generosity of the Home Depot Foundation. In early November, incoming President and CEO Voris Vigee was thrilled when she opened a letter stating Home Depot Foundation had chosen to pay up to two months’ overdue rent for some of our veterans.
“I was elated about Home Depot’s generous donation and their commitment to support brave women and men who sacrificed their lives on behalf of our country. Home Depot is a beacon of light for veterans in need, and I am grateful they chose Volunteers of America to help with connecting veterans to needed resources during this Christmas season,” Vigee said.
The veterans selected live throughout the state of Louisiana. Two recipients, Bobbie Jo and Jack, live in the Welsh, La., which is just outside of Lake Charles. In addition to the stress of COVID-19, Bobbie Jo and Jack are also recovering from Hurricanes Laura and Marco’s devastating blows.
Bobbie Jo, a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Air National Guard, is originally from California and never expected that she would be facing two major hurricanes in addition to a worldwide pandemic at age 70. When she was faced with the added expense of evacuating multiple times, she knew that rent was going to be a tough stretch for her. “I am amazed and blessed that such a large, nationwide company like Home Depot would be so generous to me,” Bobbie Jo said.
Jack is an 81-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran and couldn’t believe his good fortune when he was given the letter from Home Depot. “It is hard to believe that someone like Home Depot would be willing to help veterans like this,” Jack said. “Usually we are just forgotten.”
Both Bobbie Jo and Jack say that they love living at the Volunteers of America complex. “The best part is that it is a safe place to live with good friends as neighbors all around me,” said Jack.
“I have peace of mind living at Bayou Villa in Welsh,” said Bobbie Jo. “I know that I am safe and if there is ever a problem, it is dealt with immediately.”
Another happy veteran is Larry, a 62-year-old Louisiana National Guardsman. Many people had major life changes happen to them because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Larry wasn’t an exception…he got married! He and his wife Allison live in one of the single-family homes at The Cottages at Mile Branch in Covington, La. “Being a newlywed is wonderful,” Larry said. “As soon as I heard the wonderful news about Home Depot paying our rent, I called my wife and said ‘Praise God Christmas came early!’”
Though he has tried to stay positive and determined through all that has happened in 2020, there have been times when Larry has needed someplace peaceful and safe to decompress. “My backyard is my special place,” Larry said. “I started doing little things to make it my oasis so that I can deal with all the adversity I face. The Lord and Savior put me here for a reason and brought Volunteers of America into my life.”
These are just three of the stories of the veterans who have benefited from the Home Depot Foundation’s generosity. Whether individual donors or large foundations, the outcome is the same – Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana is able to care for the most vulnerable in our community.