By LISA STARK
June 2, 2016 — If you walk into the main entrance of The Home Depot in Sun City Center, you might notice a large display that reads “We Support our Troops,” featuring the American Flag alongside the banners of the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the POW/MIAs.
“It has long been the policy of The Home Depot to support our U.S. military,” said Scott Ware, who has been assistant manager of the Sun City Center store for going on 14 years. “Speaking for our store employees here in Sun City Center, we want our local veterans to know we care.”
True to their word, the staff at the SCC Home Depot recently awarded the Ruskin Memorial VFW Post 6287 a generous donation of supplies and materials valued at $7,000, much to the delight of members of the Ruskin Post.
“Home Depot has been absolutely wonderful through this entire process,” said Diane Gorby, president of the Ruskin VFW Auxiliary, who worked tirelessly with The Home Depot employees over 11 months to accomplish their joint mission. “This will enable us to make much-needed repairs and renovations at the Post that we could not have afforded on our own.”
The donation from The Home Depot includes paint, fixtures, replacement parts and appliances to make major upgrades to the VFW Post. “We are thrilled.” said former VFW Quartermaster and incoming Commander Ralph Reid. “We will be able to renovate our kitchen, restrooms and dining room with these supplies. This is a huge boost for us.”
Providing replacements for outdated sinks, toilets, ceiling fans, ceiling tiles and kitchen cabinets, The Home Depot has spurred a major renovation project for the VFW that will require substantial manpower from the community.
“We’re going to need a large number of volunteers to accomplish this effort,” said Reid. “Anyone with any kind of mechanical or building skill is welcome. Plumbing, electrical, painting, drywall — we need it all.”
The VFW envisions a result that will be well worth the effort. “What this means is that we will be able to update the Post to attract younger members and to make it a more cheerful and family-friendly place for everyone,” said Reid.
It seems fitting that The Home Depot’s generous gift came on the dawn of Memorial Day, which was celebrated at the Ruskin Post with a solemn Memorial Day ceremony honoring those who have died serving in the U.S. military. The weekend was filled with a variety of food, music and festivities attended by VFW members, their families and visitors.
“This is a day that gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate and recognize the millions of men and women who have bravely served our nation,” said 2015 Commander Steve Latchford. “We are thankful for every veteran who has sacrificed for us.”
Memorial Day also marked the start of summer and spending time with family, friends, and attending picnics and backyard barbecues. Many visited national cemeteries where volunteers placed the American flag on each grave, commemorating those who have sacrificed and gone before.
“This VFW Post has been here since 1946,” said Ralph Reid. “And in that time, we have accomplished so many wonderful things for veterans and the community at large.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars has been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI Bill for the 20th century, and the development of the national cemetery system.
Annually, the nearly 1.7 million members of the VFW and its auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in their communities and provide over $3 million in college scholarships and savings bonds to students every year.
Without our military veterans, the VFW likes to point out, America would not be the great nation it is today.
The Ruskin VFW Post 6287 is at 5120 U.S. 41 N. For more information, visit vfwpost6287.com or call 813-645-2935.