By Kristin Bednarski
More than 100 volunteers from Home Depot stores throughout greater Cincinnati came out to work at Amelia Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery April 18 to help with a project for veterans.
Volunteers cleaned up grave sites, righted headstones, trimmed grass and other vegetation, and prepared an area for the future veterans memorial that will be built there.
“We had a dream a long time ago to do something for veterans in this community,” Amelia Mayor Todd Hart said. “This is phase one.”
Hart said the dream didn’t become a vision until Harold Markel, manager of the Home Depot off of State Route 125, reached out looking for a volunteer opportunity for his staff in the community.
“Today is about giving back to our veterans that sacrificed a lot,” Markel said.
Home Depot stores across the United States are participating in “Spring into Service,” a campaign dedicated to helping veterans across the country.
Anitra Brockman, a support supervisor and spokesperson for Home Depot, said she and Markel met with Mayor Hart and then began to organize volunteers at the local stores.
Brockman said there are 100 volunteers, about 10 from each of 11 stores in the area, that came out to participate.
“It’s great to work for a company that allows us to get involved in the community,” Brockman said.
Paul Fulton, a volunteer and store manager, said he has been participating in volunteer activities with the store for 13 years.
“My favorite part is the stack of t-shirts I have,” Fulton said. “It makes me remember how we impacted communities.”
Hart said after several hours of maintenance work at the cemetery it was amazing how much better it.
“Before you had headstones everywhere and it was in disarray,” Hart said. “Now there is order to it.”
Hart said volunteers are planning on coming back to do similar work for phase two of the project.
He said when the memorial is complete, it will have several wall-like sections with spaces for cremated remains.
“Each section will be a different branch of the military,” Hart said about the design.
Hart said the memorial will be approximately six feet tall and will also feature a howitzer cannon.
Hart said they appreciate all of the help from volunteers kicking off phase one of the project. He said they are also thankful for donations from GFS, Walmart, Little Caesars and Dunkin’ Donuts for the event.
“Thank you from my heart and all the village of Amelia,” Hart said.