I was invited to participate in Home Depot’s Team Depot Celebration of Service in Lauderdale Lakes, FL. As soon as I read the invitation, I knew I had to be there. Giving back is something that I support 110%, especially when our service men and women are the recipients. Through the Home Depot Foundation, Team Depot forges partnerships with many nonprofit organizations and donates millions of hours, tools and supplies every year to help the community. The Home Depot’s Team Depot partnered with Rebuilding Together, Inc. for this Celebration of Service. This effort in Miami is a part of The Home Depot’s fourth annual Celebration of Service, during which Team Depot volunteers will transform more than 1,000 homes for veterans across the country from 9/11 to Veterans Day. On this day of service, we were celebrating Ms. Carol Semplis.
Have you ever met someone who was so inspirational, they made you feel like you weren’t doing enough with your own life? That is exactly how I felt the moment I met Carol Semplis. Actually, I felt like that before I even had the chance to speak with her! As soon as I pulled up to Carol’s home I spotted her on a ladder, painting the side of her house. Carol is a U.S. Navy veteran of 20 years who lost both of her big toes due to an infection she sustained during the Gulf War. Team Depot was there to help make her home more livable for her, installing the proper flooring and fixtures in her home to make her home more accessible. Yet, she was up on a ladder painting her home. Throughout the day, Carol and I chatted about everything from her family to her life post-service.
Carol was just 18 years old when she joined the Navy, doing so based on inspiration from her family and her drive to make a difference. She spent 2o years in active duty, being deployed a number of times. Due to her selfless service, Semplis received several awards, including the Navy Commendation Medal. As an employee at the West Palm Beach VA Hospital, Semplis continues to serve by helping her fellow veterans recover. Carol is even a student at University of Phoenix, perusing her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources. In fact, she was going to be doing homework later on that night! Carol is a planner, and a woman who is unstoppable for sure!
The renovations made to Carol’s home include remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms, replacing all carpeting with hard flooring, painting the interior and exterior of the home, installing screens and a new back patio, landscaping and a grill. While I was not there for the early morning kick off, I was able to see the near finished product that afternoon. Wow is all I can say. Carol’s home looked remarkably different, as you can see in the before and after picture below.
The best part of my day was seeing Team Depot come together to make this happen for Carol. The entire team, most of who were from the Oakland Park, FL store, was so lively, upbeat and committed to their work. I met so many wonderful people and heard so many great stories. The common theme was that they wanted to do something to make a difference and to help the community that they lived in. In the end, Carol was incredibly humbled and appreciative, more than any of us could really know.
You can learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot’s Celebration of Service initiative by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. See photos and videos of other events happening all over the country by visiting the the Celebration of Service content hub!
How do you give back to your community?