SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. -- Marines with the Disbursing Office, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, volunteered their time to help a retired veteran fulfill his dream at a local ‘Team Depot’ site, Aug. 18.
“Team Depot is a volunteer group that [was] founded by Home Depot,” said Pamela Villano, human resource generalist at the Costa Mesa Home Depot. “The team helps out local residents in the community.”
According to www.homedepotfoundation.org, the organization now emphasizes serving U.S. military veterans who are in need of assistance repairing and renovating their homes.
The volunteer group and the Marines worked to improve the house of James and Niki Edwards. James honorably served the Navy as a corpsman for more than 20 years. After retiring, James and his family moved to San Juan Capistrano where they reside in the house bequeathed by Niki’s father, she explained.
“We are working on making this house livable, up-to-date and safe for the family,” said Villano, 46, from Long Beach, Calif.
The Marines spent the day repairing support beams, painting interior and exterior parts of the house, and landscaping.
When the Marines were asked by ‘Team Depot’ if they wanted to help a fellow brother in arms, there was no hesitation.
“We automatically volunteered because we were helping a fellow service member,” said Sgt. Marco Rodriguez, travel noncommissioned officer, Disbursing, Service Company, CLR-17, 1st MLG. “I didn’t even know what service he served in, and it didn’t matter.”
“It’s the camaraderie of being a service member and serving this country that brings us together,” said Rodriguez, 28, a native of Humble, Texas.
“It shows camaraderie amongst the services and how far they are willing to help each other,” said Niki Edwards.
Niki said she was extrememly grateful that the Marines came out to help.
“I have the utmost respect for them,” said Niki. “I can’t thank them enough; words can’t express it.”
Not only was it an opportunity to help a fellow service member, but it was a chance for the Marines to build camaraderie with each other.
“Coming out here as a shop … to do [nothing] besides help a fellow veteran is a great way to build camaraderie,” said Rodriguez.