Ray Whisenhunt vividly remembers the piercing cold of the Korean winter, his feet literally freezing, as he stood guard by his tank.
More than 50 years later, the numbness in his feet has never really gone away and has left him with medical conditions requiring a wheelchair.
Friday, his sacrifice was honored by Volunteers of America and The Home Depot Foundation as Team Depot volunteers worked to give the house a complete facelift.
“I was really surprised,” he said.
Though he worked for years, including time as a contractor, his disability has led to some struggles in retirement. Whisenhunt first came to Volunteers of America’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families program needing help with bills.
The case workers soon realized he needed a little more help to stay in his Madison Park home.
It has a ramp, but for years he hasn’t been able to tend to the yard and the house. Weeds grew up around everything and the paint faded and started to peel.
A group of Team Depot volunteers, made up of Home Depot employees, started clearing weeds Thursday, and Friday they came back with paint brushes, rollers and cleaning supplies.
“I love it,” Whisenhunt said. “I’m still in shock.”
“I’ve never done a lot of volunteer work,” Employee Sherry Hedlund said, with a tear in her eye. “It just makes you feel good. I hope he’s happy.”
As part of its ongoing support of our nation’s veterans, The Home Depot Foundation contributed $4,000 to supplies and then provided manpower for the project at Whisenhunt’s and at the Volunteers of America Veterans Transitional Living Program. They constructed a shelter at the bus stop on the property and added paths in the garden.
“It’s a small thing I can do for a big commitment they made for us,” said Carolyn Bryant, department manager at Home Depot. “These are our heroes.”