Helping America's Most Vulnerable

​Home Depot Renovates Veteran Home So He Can Continue To Live Independently

"It is like a dream come true"

Emmitt Searuggs wanted some handrails on his front steps. Searuggs, a Korean War Veteran, widowed father of two adult children, and retired longtime employee of Volunteers of America, thought he could ask his former coworkers to pitch in and help with the handrails.

Bradley Gulley, Director of Volunteers for Volunteers of America, had a much better idea.

"We work with the Home Depot Foundation to do home renovation projects once a year for local Veterans," Gulley explained. "I had been in talks with them to do another project when Emmitt asked for handrails. He uses a cane daily, and I had a suspicion he might need a little more than handrails to make his home more comfortable."

Gulley was right, and soon the Home Depot Foundation was on board to not only do handrails but grab bars in the bathroom, new carpet, fresh paint, secure doors, sensors lights, and pathways and seating in his backyard.

The two-day project kicked off Wednesday, May 25, and brought in a dozen Denver-area Home Depot team members to make improvements at Searuggs' home and honor him for his service.

"I really did not want to leave this house. I wanted it to be livable," Searuggs told volunteers before they started work, thanking them for making it possible for him to continue enjoying the place he raised his family and has called home for over 50 years.

On top of the practical improvements, Home Depot made sure that Searuggs would feel like his home was his oasis. When the patio furniture, backyard bench, and barbecue grill came off the truck, Searuggs said he was truly overwhelmed.

"It is like a dream come true. I don't know if utopia is the proper word but I could not have dreamed up anything better than this," Searuggs said.

Searuggs now has a safe path from his car, automatic lights to see in the dark, and a rail to hold onto as he walks up the steps and down this hallway. These simple changes have given him the priceless gift of safety and comfort as he ages.