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Local Home Depot employees volunteer time, expertise
wheelchair guy pic1
Team Depot volunteer David Rodrigues, a Turlock Home Depot employee, works on the plumbing of Erick and Mindy Walkers Oakdale home. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN / The Journal


Team Depot, a volunteer program for Home Depot employees, is making a difference across the Central Valley. Team members from Sacramento to Turlock volunteer their time to work on construction projects that give back to their community. Team Depot’s latest project took them to Oakdale, where they helped a local family regain independence in their own home.

Home Depot employees from Riverbank, Turlock, Ceres, Manteca, Modesto, and Tracy all pitched in on a remodeling project to make an Oakdale home wheel-chair accessible. The home belongs to Erick and Mindy Walker, who wrote to Home Depot requesting help with the project. The couple purchased a home, but they needed expert help widening doors, cutting out sections of walls, and changing flooring to make their home more accessible for Erick, who uses a wheelchair to get around.

“I couldn’t fit through the doors and the carpet was hard to push on,” Erick said.

The Home Depot’s Team Depot program responded to the Walkers’ letter and went above and beyond their expectations. Team Depot donated $15,000 towards the re-modeling of the Walkers’ home. Professionals widened every doorway in the home, installed ramps at every entrance, and re-paved the walkway leading up to the house. The Walkers have two children, and it was hard for him to get into and out of their rooms. Team Depot widened the doors and extended one corner of the room so that Erick would have a place to turn around.

“Our goal is not just to make the house ADA compliant, but to make it easier for him to get around the whole house,” said Jessica Larsen, manager of The Home Depot in Ceres and team leader for Team Depot.

The volunteer team also replaced the Walkers' bathroom sink with a vanity that Erick can easily roll up to and sit at like a desk. He said that the new sink would make everyday activities like brushing his teeth less complicated.

“Hopefully, this is an entire lifestyle change for them. He can now access every room in the house in ways he couldn't before,” said Jason Storrs, Home Depot district manager.

Team Depot does a volunteer project about once a month, according to Larsen. Storrs said the local district stretches from Sacramento to Turlock, and areas in between. Team Depot is a national service project for Home Depot employees and their friends and family. They help with home remodeling, installing playgrounds, making over community centers and public gardens. They help in any way that Home Depot employees have expertise or resources. Larsen said Team Depot members have a lot of fun volunteering.

“It doesn't feel like work. We can have a lot of fun but still accomplish something at the end of the day,” Larsen said.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.